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Fraud and Risk Focus Blog

Cyber Monday

30 November 2020

Cyber Monday has arrived! Shoppers can look forward to an online bargains galore with a fantastic array of discounts available. This year the expected Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending will reach £6 billion, a nearly 8% increase from 2019.

Cyber Monday can be a hotspot for cybercriminals, and with their increasingly sophisticated scams, shoppers must remain wary and remember that some bargains are really too good to be true.

Shoppers underestimate the threat of fraud

A survey by McAfee found over two-thirds of Brits fail to take simple precautions when purchasing gift vouchers online. Only 27% check the link is safe and a third of simply check the brand name to confirm whether the card is safe.

Four red flags to watch out for

1. Look out for genuine retailer’s websites being spoofed: Fake sites purporting to be a genuine retailer or fake adverts may take you to a spoofed site. Use a search engine to visit the retailer’s site where you can see it is the genuine web address. If you do spot a fake advert or website, report it to the retailer.

2. Be wary of deals that look suspiciously good: If you are being offered a deal that is significantly better than anyone else’s, then it may not be genuine. If you have doubts about a retailer, find reviews from an independent site (not the retailer’s website!).

3. Avoid paying with bank account and sort code: Paying with credit card means you have greater protection under the Consumer Credit Act. This also applies to paying with Apple/Google Pay using a credit card which comes with an added advantage – your card details are not shared with the retailer.

4. Don’t make financial transactions over public Wi-Fi: If you want to buy something when you are out and about, use your phone as a hotspot or use your data.

Purchase scams

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale events last year, over £3 million was lost to criminals, as shoppers reported buying mobile phones, vehicles and electronics on sites such as Facebook, eBay and Gumtree, only for the items to never arrive.

While an item listing may appear professional, use high-quality images and logos, and a jaw-dropping price, it pays to be suspicious when an item is way below market value. Electronic items are particularly vulnerable to purchase scams, in particularly the latest iPhones and gaming consoles from Xbox and PlayStation.

Keep secure while shopping online

Over the past nine months, cyber hackers have been targeting businesses across the world in an attempt to steal their data. Ongoing lockdown restrictions have meant retailers must accelerate their online presence to generate a profit, and in some cases this has meant skipping on cybersecurity which can leave retailers vulnerable.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Data security Incident Trends report, the highest amount of cybercrime occurred in the retail and manufacturing sector, which reported 92 incidents of cybercrime in the first quarter of 2020 and 2021.

When you shop online, you leave a digital trace and the information you provide to a retailer is stored. This includes your account details, addresses and banking details. This can be a data-rich goldmine for criminals who can leave your bank account compromised or sell this data on to a third party.

For shoppers, it is always worth checking out as a guest rather than creating an account with a retailer. This minimises the amount of data that retailers will hold about you.

A Fraud Free Xmas

Action Fraud’s latest Christmas campaign, #FraudFreeXmas has been launched to tackle fraud over the festive period. The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime is warning the public to take extra care ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

During December, Action Fraud will provide important advice for shoppers and highlight fraud types to prevent people from becoming a victim of fraud over the Christmas period.

Cifas Protective Registration

Anyone that has had their personal details stolen or dealt with an organisation that has recently lost or leaked their data may be at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud. Cifas Protective Registration can offer peace of mind to consumers and a reduction in the risk of becoming a victim of fraud.

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Posted by: Sandra Peaston

Sandra is the Director of Research and Development at Cifas.

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Posted by: Sandra Peaston

Sandra is the Director of Research and Development at Cifas.

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