Black Friday shoppers should beware of £4.7bn online scam, say consumer groups

One in five shoppers have fallen victim to credit card fraudsters over the last year, amounting to £4.7bn stolen from UK cards.

Eleven million people, or 21 per cent of the population, have had their credit card cancelled or replaced as a result of attempted fraud over the last 12 months, according to new research by comparison site comparethemarket.com.

Fifty-one per cent of these breaches resulted in money being stolen, with victims losing an average of £846 each.

Black Friday shoppers should take care while hunting for bargains because most people are defrauded when making online payments, said the comparison’s site Credit Card Fraud Index.


Card skimmers

Just over one in ten, or 11 per cent, said their account was defrauded by a card skimmer – up from four per cent last year – where fraudsters capture credit card information through small devices in seemingly safe transactions such as at an automated teller machine (ATM) or a petrol station. Only four per cent of victims reported their credit card was physically stolen.

Comparethemarket.com head of money John Crossley said: “Two of the busiest shopping days in the calendar year are fast approaching, so it is more important than ever that people remain cyber-savvy. Latest figures show that online sales now represent 18 per cent of total UK retail sales, so around Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers should be extra vigilant, especially as our research suggests that fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated online.

Crossley added: “It’s important not to make yourself vulnerable to hackers. Ensuring you have separate passwords and pins for different accounts or cards, and are familiar will some of the tricks fraudsters use will help keep your money secure.”


Top five tips for shopping Black Friday sales from consumer body Which?


  • Don’t impulse buy – Work out what you need or want to buy and how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales.
  • Don’t panic – Don’t worry about missing out on a good offer as our research has revealed that you could be better off waiting until after Black Friday anyway.
  • Do your research – Look at the price on previous days, using sites such as PriceRunner, to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
  • Don’t always trust reviews you find online – Our recent investigation revealed how shoppers are being misled by unscrupulous sellers using fake online product reviews.
  • Use Which? – Experts will be scrutinising the Black Friday sales to pick the deals that really are worth a look. Check which.co.uk/blackfriday for a pick of the best bargains out there, as well as the duds to avoid.


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Roger Baird

Roger Baird is News Editor at Finixio. He has worked as a financial journalist for 20 years reporting on companies, capital markets and the UK economy.


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