4 most brutal Black Friday scams – from fake emails to social media goods

Terrifying data released by Citizens Advice has found that between January and June, 36 million – or two thirds, of adults in the UK have been targeted by scammers.

Now, with Black Friday 2021 bearing down and a spike in the number of shoppers of keen for a deal, scammers are likely to be particularly active say banking services provider thinkmoney.

While the idea of bagging bargains from the comfort of your own home may seem preferable to wrestling someone for the last blender in the store, dangers online can still be huge.

They warn that scammers will cast their net wide, and although most victims won't bite they only need a fraction to fall into their trap to make big cash.

It only takes a single lapse of concentration to find yourself in deep water, so make sure you stay alert and do everything you can to protect yourself.

Most common Black Friday scams

Watch out for these common scam types and learn how to tackle them.

Fake confirmation emails

Scammers aren't afraid of who they mimic and have been known to impersonate giant firms like Amazon and PayPal. Big companies are locked in perpetual battle with fraudsters and so be wary of purchase emails from them them for stuff you don't remember buying.

If an email from a company makes you suspicious then there are some things you can do. Pay extra attention to the email address it was sent by – the domain name is the part of the address positioned after the @ symbol. It is paid for by the company and be a major clue for spotting scammers.

Often the domains will be wildly different to the real deal and should be easy to spot. Compare @paypal.com (real) to [email protected] (fake), for example.

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If it's a more realistic attempt at impersonating the domaine name check it against real emails you may have got from them in the past.

Another thing to look out for is spelling mistakes. These can happen to anyone, but are very unlikely to happen to big firms with scores of proofreaders. If an email is littered with typos, it is possible it is a scam.

Fake invoices

Similar to the emails, fake invoices are a common approach. Check all invoices you receive throughly, regardless of whether you made the purchase.

Keep an eye out for messages alerting you that a purchase haven't gone through saying you need to you 'try again' or pay someone over PayPal. If your money has already left your account for a purchase you made there's a good chance someone is trying to scam you.

Social media scams

It's no secret that a lot of scams can be found on social media, but be aware fake profiles flogging counterfeit goods are found all over the internet's most popular platforms.

While Facebook and other platforms have taken measures to clamp down on sinister activity, loads slip through the net with thousand of transactions taking place where no parcel ever arrives.

Facebook isn't a registered shopping site and so people aren't protected in any way. Make sure you check sellers' ratings and reviews thoroughly and try to use PayPal – which offers a range of protections for shoppers including reimbursements – to make the payment.

Watch out for profiles that look very new or who ask you to pay through the PayPal friends and family mode.

If a seller badgers you to move more quickly on a purchase that too could be a red flag and if you aren't totally sure then do not part with your cash.

Membership renewals

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This too often relies on high-quality imitations of well known companies. For anyone who has a membership anywhere at all – gyms, book club, a magazine – keep your eyes peeled. It doesn't matter how big the subscription cost is, all the scammer will be interested in is your card details.

Again look for dodgy email domaines and if you're in doubt give real company a call – they will be able to tell you whether the correspondence is real or not instantly.

Other things to look out for this Black Friday 2021

Try to stick to websites that have the padlock symbol on the URL at the top of the browser, as this means the site is secure.

Similarly, the 's' at the end of https stands for secure and so sites without it aren't necessarily a good idea to enter your details into.

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