There’s no denying there are some really genuine deals to be had over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s forecast that consumers will spend millions online as they kick off (like us), add to or finish their Christmas shopping while picking up some bargains, but sadly in this day in age it’s also the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to try and trap you with their clever, believable scams.
It’s estimated that one in four Brits has been a victim of an online scam either through social media, emails or too good to be true bargains to entice you in.
Use our helpful hints and tips to protect you online while you spend…
1 – Buying online
Black Friday has swept the nation with the promise of bargains galore. Many brands continuing this throughout December. There are some genuine bargains to be had. But it’s important to be wise before you dish out your credit card details. Don’t click on offer adverts or emails – go directly to the retailer’s secure website. You can tell that a site is secure by looking out for websites with HTTPS and a small padlock – the S stands for secure.
2 – Delivery notifications
Once you’ve made all your shiny new purchases, you’re likely to be expecting online deliveries turning up left, right and centre. It’s not uncommon for the post office or courier to email you to say you have a parcel to collect or that your delivery was unsuccessful if you weren’t in. Fraudsters are wise to this and have been known to use this as a way of getting you to click through to a fraudulent link. Before you click any links, check the email address and the URL to make sure it’s an official site, and if doubt go separately to the page.
3 – Social media
Brands make goods look great on social media, and are increasingly making it easier for you to purchase within the social network. But this can also be a haven for fraudsters. If you’re attracted by an offer leave the social network and visit the brands website – the offer should be replicated on there. Read the reviews and see the experiences other consumers have had before you buy. Avoid having too much of your personal information listed on your profile too and don’t click on any links that you think may be suspicious, even if they are from friends.
4 – Emails
You’re no doubt being inundated by Black Friday/Cyber Monday email offers at the moment. If the email is coming from a brand you aren’t familiar with, or contains spelling mistakes, this should raise alarm bells. Make sure the sender address is legitimate. You may also spot some emails saying that your account has been cancelled or that you need to verify your email address or that your card details have expired when they haven’t etc with a link to click. Don’t click the link. Contact the retailer directly if you have any concerns.
5 – Bidding
Popular auction sites like ebay and Gumtree are a great way to pick up some bargains, but sadly people can ruin the experience by offering counterfeit items or items that don’t exist. Research the sellers reviews before you bid, check for genuine feedback and only bid on items and accounts that you trust. And always use recommended payment methods. If you have any concerns, contact the bidding site.
Having good anti-virus software installed on your PC or laptop can help to keep you safe. Get more information about ESET Anti-Virus offered through Smart Computers on our website under the Smart Protect tab. We also offer an email filtering service, monitoring and removing spam emails before they get to you.