The most common Black Friday scams revealed – and how YOU can avoid them all

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Black Friday 2020 is almost here, and in the run-up to the huge sales day an alert has been put out about scams and tricks that shoppers need to be aware of. Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud and cyber reporting centre – has issued a warning about how to shop safely online. The advice – which could help you save a lot of time, money and stress – gives shoppers help on phishing scams, e-mail security and where best to spend their hard-earned cash.

The Action Fraud UK Twitter account highlighted this advice online in a tweet that revealed top tips to shop safely online.

Here are some of the main points that shoppers need to be aware of ahead of Black Friday 2020…

• Phishing scams – If you receive a link or text promising an amazing offer that’s too good to be true then – as the old adage goes – it likely is. Beware of enticing messages from unofficial looking sources that try to direct you to fake websites. Conversely, we’d also advise being wary of threatening messages that try to get you to hand over personal information such as bank details. If you’re unsure about a website then don’t click on the link – head separately to the website of the organisation the sender is claiming to represent.

• E-mail security – Make sure you use strong, unique passwords for your e-mail accounts that aren’t used on any other websites. By securing your e-mail account you can protect against cyber crooks breaking in, as they may want access to your inbox to help access other services you’re signed up to like online shopping websites, or to get sensitive information like bank details or personal addresses.

READ MORE: Black Friday warning: Consumers must use ‘common sense’ – scams alert

• Where to shop – If you’ve seen a bargain that has been listed by a company or seller you’re not familiar with then do some research first. Ask a friend or family member whether it’s best to go through with a purchase before confirming your order. You can also used websites such as Trustpilot which are a great tool when trying to figure out if a website is trustworthy or not.

• Adding an extra level of security – As explained in this post by Action Fraud, there are other ways you can stay safe while shopping online. If a retailer offers it then be sure to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. This adds an extra level of security, with a code sent to your mobile device needed alongside your password to login. If you want to go one step further you can also enlist the help of a password manager so you can remember different passwords easily and have help setting up a secure password. If you are thinking of using a password manager, be sure to do research into the different ones available and choose a reliable, trustworthy one. Password managers themselves can be targets of attacks and have certain drawbacks. This article from the National Cyber Security Centre may help you decide if a password manager is right for you.

If you follow all of this advice, and something still goes wrong then Action Fraud has some further advice for you.

They said: “We all make mistakes and these days the scams can be incredibly convincing.

“If you think you may have been taken in by a bogus website, you should first, take a note of the website’s address, then close down your internet browser. Then report the details to Action Fraud and contact your bank to seek advice.

“Whether you’ve been a victim of fraud will depend on how much information you’ve provided to the website. So keep an eye on bank transactions, if you can. Contact your bank immediately about anything that you don’t recognise, even small amounts.”

If you’re concerned that you’ve been the victim of cyber fraud then you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or you can also head to this website to report an issue.

The Action Fraud warning comes ahead of Black Friday 2020, which this year falls on Friday November 27.

In recent years Black Friday has arguably become the best time of the year for Brits to bag a bargain, eclipsing the traditional Boxing Day sales in the UK as the ideal time to get a good deal.

If you end up missing out on the Black Friday 2020 deals then you’ll have another bite at the cherry, as offers will also be available on Cyber Monday 2020 which takes place a few days later on Monday November 30.

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