Be aware of these Top 6 Black Friday scams

Scammers and fraudsters annoy us all year round but work overtime on Black Friday, when they know consumers will flock to the internet to take advantage of the deals.

IPS is raising awareness of the most popular tricks to help keep everyone aware, protected and prevent the scammers winning. 

Please share this article with your family and friends to protect them too!

1. Amazon Scams

Amazon-themed scams happen all year round, but this Black Friday is different because people are spending more with Amazon than ever before. The scams appear as phone calls, voicemails, texts or emails and present consumers with a huge range of fake messaging: 

  • Issues with payments 
  • Problems with online accounts 
  • Winning and claiming a ‘prize’ 
  • Notification of account renewal, leading to a  new ‘debit card  setup 
  • Notification you have placed an order and need to confirm payment 
  • Confirm payment of goods which have supposedly been sent

IPS advice 

Do not be rushed into doing anything immediately. Step away for 5 minutes to think. 

Do not give out personal or financial information. 

If you do not have an Amazon account, Prime or otherwise, ignore and delete all content and report as a complaint to Amazon. 

If you do have an account or are worried, log in to your account yourself and see if you can see an issue. If you are still concerned then contact Amazon direct and register your issue. 

2. Delivery Scams

You may be expecting lots of packages in the days following Black Friday, so a text to say your parcel couldn’t be delivered, from Royal Mail or DPD would not be completely out of the blue. Scammers are chancing their arm here and obviously getting enough “bites” to keep doing it. A text message will ask you to confirm some personal or financial details before receiving a delivery. That information is all they need to be able to progress a scam. Don’t give them that information. Genuine texts from delivery companies are updates that don’t require you to do anything. If you do then do it through the company website.  

Take a look at this example below which the Royal Mail confirmed was a scam.

 

 

This has been one of the commonly experienced scams in the UK with millions of people being targeted this year. Make sure you are on high alert – and stop yourself immediately responding.  

3. Fake Advert Scams

You may have seen an increase in online adverts and we have reports on our Facebook Group of a tsunami of fake adverts and websites. If you are thinking about buying something from an advert you have seen online or on social media, or buying from a website you haven’t seen before, do some further research first!  

Fake adverts and websites only succeed if they make you trust them. Before you hand over your bank details and become the next victim, take 5 minutes to think about it. If in doubt, do without. 

Criminals can create fake websites that will include identical branding and design to a recognisable brands official website, and a domain name which is also similar to the official site. This is known as ‘cybersquatting’ and can create a real feeling of authenticity. If you believe you are buying from a brand you recognise, Google the brand name and click that link or go to the website directly to ensure you are on the real website. (Don’t trust the links you are sent).

Ensure you have Anti Virus Software installed which can detect if you land on a dodgy website.

4. Refund Scams

Scammers from all over the world are sending knock-off products in an attempt to con consumers out of their money. These products exist and do turn up, however they are fake and normally look nothing like the image or product description, and are much lower quality than expected. 

The unknowing consumer who is not satisfied with the product will go to send it back in order to attain a refund, but the scammer will refuse. Unfortunately, the scammers will argue this is not considered a crime because the product has been delivered and there was never any promise of a refund. 

Sadly, not much is being done about these types of scams as they are not considered a crime, but there are ways you can protect yourself and your family members. When shopping online from a company you have not heard of before, always check where they are based, if you ordering a product from outside the EU, you will generally have much less protection if you are faced with a refund scam. 

Check their website, check their reviews and generally do your research to make sure they are a legitimate company. 

Use a secure payment method when making a purchase. You have the most cover if something goes wrong when you have paid using a credit card. 

Most importantly when dealing with this kind of scam, always check the RETURN AND REFUND POLICY on the company website. Legitimate companies will always offer you a refund if you are not satisfied with the product. 

5. 'Your order has been cancelled’ Scam

These scams go as far as ‘Sorry, we are out of stock, and your order has been cancelled. To claim your refund, please click here.’  

Once the victim clicks on the link, they are asked to enter the details of the credit card to which they want to receive the refund and end up with their bank accounts being wiped out. 

A recent wave of phishing attacks is typified by an email from a famous brand (like Amazon or eBay) informing you that your order has been cancelled. Once again scammers are sending these to millions of random people to get “just enough” people to believe it and engage with it. 

When you click the link in the email to see which of your items has been cancelled, you’re asked for personal information or  to download a file which will contain a malicious virus. 

IPS advice 

If you really do have a cancelled order, you will NEVER be sent an email asking for your bank details. The company should refund you directly back to the card you made the payment with. Visit the company site yourself to investigate further. 

We have reports of these types of scams coming from fake Amazon email addresses. It is likely that fraudsters will be pretending to be from a number of different companies over the weekend. Look out for this type of email. Don’t give out your bank details and never click on any links you are suspicious of. 

6. Discount Scam

In the last 2-years, high street shops have faced enormous challenges and sadly some retail chains have closed their doors permanently. Against that backdrop, all retailers are hoping for record-breaking Black Friday sales. 

Whether you are shopping on the high street or online, please be aware that nearly 9 in every 10 ‘deals’ have been cheaper prior to Black Friday – and will be again after the event. We see many of these ‘deals’ are not real discounts. 

Independent investigations have shown some retailers increasing prices ahead of November. If products were cheaper before Black Friday it’s more than likely they will be again afterwards. 

Therefore, we encourage our members to carry out their own research prior to parting with any money and there are several consumer price and product comparison services available to guide you with this. 

There are great deals to be had, but carry out your own research and due-diligence, you will then know a true bargain when you see one. If it looks too good to be true, it often is! 

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What to do if you think you've been scammed

Credit cards provide the greatest protection. A person can make a claim against your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

For this to apply, the amount must be over £100 and less than £30,000. Wherever possible, it is always best to pay by credit card as you are guaranteed the most protection if something does go wrong.

Your bank may be able to refund your money through the Chargeback Screen. This however, is not enshrined in law, but some banks subscribe to Scheme Rules which is a code of conduct by which the banks much abide. Debit card transactions can also include goods costing less than £100.

Please be aware that the rules and regulations can vary between the various cards. The Chargeback Scheme can also apply to credit card transactions for £100 or less but this would then disqualify the consumers’ rights with Section 75.

An Authorised Push Payment (APP), also know as a bank transfer scam is when money is transferred from your own bank account to another belonging to a scammer-knowingly or otherwise.

Speed is of the essence in these circumstances and here is what you must do:-

  • Contact your bank. Tell the bank what has happened and give the details of the bank account to where the funds were sent. Your bank may be able either to stop the transaction or recover the money.
  • Contact the bank to where your money has been sent. The bank may be able to stop the money and return it to you. Unless you already have all the required information you can use Faster Payments which is a sort code checker

If you have been subjected to a convincing scam resulting in money being transferred into another bank account, then please contact your bank immediately. Your bank is only able to help once they are informed.

If you have formally complained to the recipient bank and find they haven’t responded quickly or appropriately enough, please take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

If the scammer has taken payment for an item which hasn’t been sent, the consumer will be covered by PayPal Buyer Protection. There are time limits to be aware of however.

Please be aware that scammers are able to produce very convincing PayPal payment forms. Do not complete these as they will ask for your bank details. As a result, you will have NO protection under the PayPal Buyer Protection scheme.

If dealing with a fraudulent buyer where payment is made via PayPal but the buyer claims that the goods have not been delivered (even though they have), you, as a seller, are automatically covered by PayPal Buyer Protection and Section 75.

A claim can be made under the PayPal Seller Protection. Please note conditions and requirements do apply.

Unfortunately, you cannot always recover lost money when using these services. They do however, provide advice on how to avoid fraud and scams which would be beneficial to know beforehand.

We have had several reported incidents of transactions occurring using cards without the owners’ knowledge.

In these cases, a claim can be made from the bank as an ‘unauthorised transaction’, from the Payment Services Regulations 2009. If any additional sums have taken without the owners’ permission a claim can also be made for this which is governed by the Payment Services Regulations 2009.

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