Black Friday 2019: 5 tips to avoid being scammed online
What to watch out for while shopping online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As people gear up to bag the latest bargains this Black Friday (November 29) and Cyber Monday (December 2), it's not surprising that scammers are targeting online shoppers.
Using these tips below will help you to stay safe online during the biggest sales event of the year.
If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is
A massive reduction on a big-ticket item may seem plausible during Black Friday, but beware of deals that look too good to be true (it most likely is!).
Huge price reductions may be tempting, especially if you're worried about missing out, but be extra careful before adding them to your basket.
Use trusted websites
Be wary of using websites you've never heard of before.
Criminals use fake adverts and websites to scam consumers into giving up their personal information.
Using brands you know and trust or online marketplaces with good reputations is the best way to snag those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Also check for the padlock beside the web address before you enter your card details.
A closed padlock icon displayed in a web browser indicates that you are using a secure mode that prevents anyone from reading or modifying your data.
Check the URL
When securing those deals, make sure to double-check the website you are using before purchasing.
Online scammers use convincing-looking copies of big-brand websites to trick consumers into believing they are using the official site.
One easy way to make sure that you are buying from a trusted brand's website is to double check the URL address.
Fraudsters create fake websites in a number of ways, including using letters which look similar to other letters at first glance (capital 'i' instead of an 'l'), or moving the 'dot' in the website URL (l.ep.co.uk instead lep.co.uk).
Look out for misspellings or odd language too, and avoid anything that looks unprofessional.
Beware when downloading apps
Sometimes a retailer may offer exclusive discounts if you download their app or sign up for marketing emails.
Before you do this, ensure you are downloading the real app.
Do not download the app through an email link, but through a verified source such as the Play Store or App Store.
Be careful when using public WiFi
Finally, when shopping for deals, try not to use public or open Wifi. These can be found in coffee shops and train stations, for example.
Fraudsters can download software that allows them to snoop on what you’re doing while using a public WiFi network.
If a deal really is too good to miss and you have to shop in these locations, or you can't wait until you get home, use your mobile data.
Alternatively, you can connect through a VPN which will encrypt your data, preventing anyone else from seeing it.