HomeTechnologyHow to stay safe as Black Friday scams surge

How to stay safe as Black Friday scams surge

Consumers are being warned of a surge in shopping scams in the lead-up to the Black Friday sales and reminded to be extra vigilant when shopping online.

Black Friday, the US shopping ‘holiday’ traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving (Friday 24 November this year to be exact), has been getting bigger and bigger in Australia.

Mainly an excuse for businesses to make extra sales before Christmas, there are definitely bargains to be had if you’re savvy. Unfortunately though, with so much money flying around, Black Friday – and its online cousin Cyber Monday – attract more and more scammers each year.

Data from ING shows 1.4 million Aussies have admitted to being scammed on Black Friday in the past, and a whopping 92 per cent are actively taking steps to prevent that happening again.

Matt Bowen, head of daily banking at ING Australia, says scams are particularly present during sales season and that shoppers need to actively employ ‘scam-avoidance tactics’ this Black Friday.

“As we head into the giving season, Aussies are looking for the best deal they can in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and it’s great to see so many planning in advance and doing their research,” he says.

“But it’s also important to stay vigilant to common scams that could turn savings into nightmares – especially as many scammers look to capitalise on Aussies hunting for a good deal.” 

How to spot a scam

Scamwatch, the Australian government’s scam monitoring service, recommends taking a step back when you find a great Black Friday deal and asking yourself a few questions.

First, is the price unbelievably low? This is a very common tactic to reel in potential victims. Remember the saying, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’.

Second, if the offer is online, does the business’s website list common items such as the ABN, privacy policy and terms and conditions.

Third, does the website have an unusual URL, or one that doesn’t match the name of the business? The same goes for any offers that require you to use a certain payment method such as PayId or money order.

Mr Bowen adds that customers should be wary of clicking any links shared on social media, emails or via text, even if they look legitimate. The same goes for any links sent via email.

“When you get an email, check the email address is legitimate,” he says.

“More sophisticated scammers may create fake company email addresses that appear genuine, so always check the domain name matches previous correspondence. If in doubt, contact the business via trusted sources.”

Concerningly, the ING research found only about half (46 per cent) admit they check company reviews, and just 52 per cent check the company’s official website to make sure deals are legitimate.

More than half (52 per cent) say they would click a deal link sent to their email address or phone without verifying it first.

Make sure that isn’t you this Black Friday.

Have you fallen victim to a scam? Will you be shopping on Black Friday? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Platforms must step up on scam ads, says consumer advocate

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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