Criminals are using the cost of living crisis to take advantage of Britons who are just trying to find the best deal they can on products and services. They are doing this by targeting customers by advertising goods which don’t exist or selling second-hand products which are faulty or do not work. NatWest has issued a warning to Britons this week ahead of Black Friday to be wary of purchase scams by sharing what the most common scams will be.
A purchase scam usually involves a criminal trying to sell goods online at a heavily reduced price.
This year, NatWest noted that scams involving products that helped people reduce their energy consumption, such as air fryers and personal heaters, were becoming increasingly common.
The final items on NatWest’s predictions list of top scams to beware of are games consoles, such as PlayStations and Xboxes.
NatWest estimates around £10million will be stolen by fraudsters between Black Friday and Christmas through purchase scams this year.
The bank also predicted the scale of the problem and the number of people who will be this year “will be significant” with the majority of scams likely to be under £1,000.
Stuart Skinner, fraud and scams expert at NatWest said: “Black Friday is a great time of year to pick up a bargain but unfortunately it is also exploited by criminals.
“If you’re being sold something at a knock-down price from a private seller on social media or a website you’re not familiar with – don’t do it.
“Your goods won’t turn up and you’ll be left out of pocket. If it’s an unusually good bargain for an item you know is worth a lot more, chances are it’s a scam.”
Where possible, NatWest recommended people use a credit card when making any purchase over £100 and up to £30,000.
This is because people will receive protection under the Credit Consumer Act.
NatWest also reminded people that photos can “easily be faked” so they shouldn’t purchase an item on this alone and that people should “always ensure” they have logged out of their account when they leave a website.
When people are online this festive period, NatWest urged them to always follow the Take Five campaign which tells people to stop, challenge, and protect.
Before parting with money or information, people should first stop and think whether what they are doing feels legitimate.
People should then challenge and ask themselves, “Could this be fake?”. NatWest reminded people that it was okay to reject, refuse and ignore any requests made to them as only criminals will try to make someone feel rushed or panicked.
Finally, people need to protect themselves, if someone believes they may have fallen for a scam then they should contact their bank “immediately” and then report the scam to Action Fraud.