Experts have shared their tips to avoid being scammed this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, after purchase scams increase by a third (34 per cent) during the shopping events last year.
According to new data from Barclays, victims lost an average of £1,072 to scammers. The bank said most of the scams originated online, such as on websites, on social media and on dating apps.
Around a third of people surveyed by Barclays (32 per cent) said they had been scammed after feeling pressured to make a purchase as quickly as possible to make sure they got the best deal.
Barclays has shared its top tips for avoiding scams this year. It recommends researching and reading reviews of websites to ensure that the seller is genuine.
It also urged people to avoid blind-buying large items online like cars and smartphones and try to view the item in person first to make sure it exists.
“Get a second opinion. Always speak to someone you trust for a second opinion, whether it is a friend, family member, or your bank,” the bank said.
It also warned against unlikely offers. Many purchase scams lure customers in with huge discounts that aren’t being offered by verified retailers, but if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, commented: “This year more than ever, people will be looking for the best bargains, which could lead them right into the hands of scammers, who will be advertising false offers to lure victims in.
“Just remember – ignore any pressure that is being put on you – and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
UK Finance, a trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector, has urged people to be extra wary of offers from unverified sources, and to be mindful when clicking on links.
It said its own research had shown a rise in criminals exploiting those shopping for Christmas gifts such as consoles, bicycles and clothing.
There has also been a rise in scams of home improvement and DIY products, such as patio heaters and sheds.