Black Friday 2019 Tips: How to avoid Black Friday scams

4 Nov, 2019

Mark your calendars - Black Friday is coming soon! Falling on Friday 29th November, you don’t have long to wait until you can start saving on everything from tech to travel with thousands of amazing deals.

Unfortunately, along with these great deals come scammers who try to take advantage of consumers panic-buying as they don’t miss out on a bargain. That’s why we’ve put together a quick list of how to spot the real deals and protect yourself from fraudsters. Be alert, be vigilant and follow these easy tips to keep your money safe.

Only buy from secure, encrypted pages

The first thing to check for when you’re shopping online is that the site you’re on is secure. If you’re on a secure site, you’ll see a little padlock on the left-hand side of the URL which means that the site is encrypted. The URL itself should also start with “https" to show it’s secure, rather than “http", though fewer sites are showing this part of the URL these days. Above all else, look out for the padlock!

Avoid Black Friday apps

Around Black Friday, tons of new Black Friday and Cyber Monday apps hit the market. Be wary, some of these shopping apps look like they’re for legit brands, when in fact they’re just a way to get your info. It’s safest to buy directly from the sites you know, and if you fancy downloading their app, use the link on their website rather than searching for it yourself in the Android or Apple store. It’s also always worth looking out for typos and bad reviews as red flags like these usually point to a sloppy scam.

Connect with caution

Don’t risk making a purchase on public Wi-Fi as there’s no guarantee it’s secure. Cyber criminals often take advantage of public Wi-Fi to steal personal information and credit card details. Rather than using the free Wi-Fi at your favourite coffee shop, use your mobile data or a secure home connection to keep your info safe.

Get virus protection on your PC

This one should be a no-brainer. Having some safe, internet security on your devices is an absolute must all year round, and is extra important around Black Friday. Although you might have to shell out a bit of cash to get the antivirus software from brands like Kaspersky, Norton and McAfee, it’s a small price to pay to know that you’re safe from scammers and unsafe sites.

Alternatively, you can still get great antivirus software for free or on the cheap. AVG offers protection for free, as does Avira and Avast. Find the best one for you - but even with this software, you should still be on alert to spot scams antivirus software might miss!

Be wary of suspicious links and phishing emails

You’re sure to get a few dodgy emails around Black Friday, but you need to keep your eyes peeled as often these emails are made to look like they’re from a legitimate brand you might have shopped at before.

These emails will be scattered with links which contain malicious malware which will steal your details. Ways to spot if an email is a fake or legitimate are to look out for obvious typos and to check who the sender is. Often they will use subdomains that look real, but don’t be fooled! They may also ask you to confirm your details or pretend you’ve made a purchase - but don’t fall for it. If it doesn’t feel right, go directly to the retailers site instead of clicking on any links.

Use your bank’s protection

Thanks to online banking, it’s easier than ever to keep an eye on our money. Plus, many banks have a security system in place when you use your card to pay for something online, meaning you have to verify your purchase with your bank before your order goes through.

If you don’t have anything set up with your bank already, why not arrange a two-step verification with them so that if someone tries to use your card online, you’ll get a text immediately where you have to confirm it was you that made the purchase.This is an incredibly valuable tool which you should make the most of around Black Friday.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on your transactions to see if anything’s gone out which you don’t recognise, and report it immediately if something looks suspicious. App-based banks like Monzo and Starling give you live updates on your purchases, making it easier to spot anything going out which shouldn’t be.

Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals

You can bag some outstanding bargains over the Black Friday sales period, but that doesn’t mean you should accept every deal at face value. If a deal seems too good to be true, then we advise caution. Scammers will try and draw you in with an amazing deal and prompt you to panic buy, but don’t let your guard down and enter your bank details too hastily. Only use deals directly from the retailer or trusted, secure third-party voucher code sites like BlackFridayVouchers.com and Savoo.co.uk where you won’t be asked to enter any personal details.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the shopping frenzy, but don’t forget to be cautious about how and where you shop this Black Friday. If you take these easy precautions, you can get the most out of Black Friday’s fabulous deals and get your shopping list done safely and on a budget. Protect yourself, be aware, and happy shopping!