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25th Nov 2022

5 tips on how to stay safe from scam attempts this Black Friday

Katy Thornton

black friday scam

Black Friday is a prime time for fraudsters.

Black Friday has officially landed (in what feels the longest lead up to it ever) and while it’s a great time to get some Christmas shopping in at a discounted price (especially given how tough times are) there are certain risks associated with the event. Given the sheer volume of shoppers that will be online, it’s a prime time for scam and fraud attempts.

Visa found that 73% of people had noticed fraud attempts during 2022. They also discovered that 42% of Irish consumers plan to partake in Black Friday, up 10% on last year.

Here are some handy tips from Visa that will help you to stay safe this Black Friday.

  1. Spell-check messages; look for inconsistencies, such as errors in grammar and spelling, or differences between the sender’s name and the URL link provided, which could indicate it’s fraud. If you receive a message from a company or individual out of the blue, be vigilant in checking for these errors.
  2. Be cautious of urgent actions; this is a common tactic used by fraudsters to provoke the person they’re targeting to take immediate action. Look out for phrases like ‘send (…) here’ or ‘click (…) below’, or ‘within 48 hours’ and take the time to consider whether the message is genuine. If you’re unsure whether the action is legitimate, contact the organisation separately to check before carrying out any action.
  3. Watch out for hidden prompts; fraudsters often provoke a response from you by either suggesting a problem (e.g. asking you to rearrange a disrupted delivery) or making a tempting offer (e.g. suggesting you have won a prize). Think about your recent dealings with that organisation and individual. If you don’t recognise the problem or the offer they’re trying to get you to react to, it’s most likely fraud.
  4. Check their credibility; fraudsters work hard to convince you of their credibility in messages, sometimes using words and phrases that you might find in genuine communications. It can be hard to tell the difference, so if you are unsure, contact the company separately to verify the message’s legitimacy before clicking on a link.
  5. Read out the message to someone you trust; It may sound obvious, but if you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message, it can help to discuss it with someone you trust.   They may have also received a similar message and might be able to help advise on the best course of action to take. Sharing your experience might save someone else from falling victim too.

Saving money is a huge priority for Irish consumers, particularly in light of the cost-of-living crisis, so shopping Black Friday sales is incredibly desirable. The Visa research found that technology and electronic equipment (42%), clothing & accessories (41%), beauty products (23%), homeware & furnishings (21%), and children’s toys & games (20%) are the most sought after products this Black Friday.

On the other hand, 17% said they can’t afford to shop the sales at all due to the rising cost of living. 58% don’t plan on shopping Black Friday or Cyber Monday and of that, 28% say they are seriously cutting back this year.

Header image via Shutterstock

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