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Beware Black Friday online scams, warns Royal Bank of Scotland

By Chris Saunderson

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Royal Bank of Scotland is predicting a 40 per cent increase in the number of scams reported this Black Friday compared to the same time last year as online shopping fraud rapidly rises.

During lockdown criminals are taking advantage of more customers shopping online.

Be careful if buying online this Christmas.
Be careful if buying online this Christmas.

The most popular fake ads involve the sale of designer clothes, trainers and iPhone 12s. Often goods are offered for sale but are never delivered, are of poor quality, or are not what was ordered.

Some of the most recent scams being reported by Royal Bank customers are for purchases through Facebook Marketplace.

Last year during Black Friday, Royal Bank processed over one million transactions per hour and this year it is expected to be substantially higher.

Across the main Christmas shopping period (November 29 to December 19, 2019) the bank successfully flagged and prevented 39,181 fraudulent transactions, preventing debit and credit customers from losing over £11.64million.

Shoppers can also take steps to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.

Jason Costain, Head of Fraud Prevention at Royal Bank said: “A record number of customers are doing their Christmas shopping online this year and we’ve seen evidence that criminals are getting ready for a bumper Christmas too.

"Beware of fake adverts on the internet. Just because a company appears at the top of an internet search result, or advertises on social media, it does not mean they are genuine.

"Our customers tell us that they are seeing fake ads popping up within Google search results or being advertised on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, GumTree, and eBay.”

Royal Bank has provided three tips to help prevent a criminal stealing your Christmas:

  • Buy from trusted retailers– appearing on Google doesn’t mean a seller is trusted. Some websites take your card details and never deliver your order. A few simple checks could save you a lot of bother later, check, do they have a phone number? Do they have good reviews? Have you heard of them?
  • Paying direct into a sellers bank account – when buying goods from sites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay or GumTree always follow fraud advice on the site and never pay directly into a sellers bank account.
  • Paying by card is the safest way to shop online - if your goods don’t arrive you are protected and your bank can help get your money back.

More help and advice on fraud is available online www.rbs.co.uk

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