NatWest reveals three of the top items criminals are enticing customers with this year
Over £10m set to be stolen by criminals ahead of Christmas
Criminals are taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis by advertising goods which don’t exist. Customers trying to reduce their energy expenditure could find themselves being specifically being targeted as revealed in NatWest’s 2022 list of predicted purchase scams criminals will use this Black Friday.
Air fryers are predicted to be one of the top new scams with consumers trying to get the best deals on the energy saving cooking appliance. Another emerging scam is personal heaters which are increasingly popular as consumers try to keep down soaring heating bills. The final item on NatWest’s predictions list of top scams to beware of are games consoles such as PlayStations and Xboxes.
A purchase scam usually involves a criminal trying to sell goods online at a heavily reduced price. Another typical sign of a purchase scam is a time-based deal that adds pressure to the purchaser to buy now without thinking. The sites these scams are happening on most commonly are Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, Twitter and eBay.
The age demographic who are most likely to have their money stolen are 25-35 year-olds, very closely followed by 18–25 and 35-45 year olds. This is reflective of these age groups shopping more online and feeling more confident in the purchases they are making.
NatWest estimates around £10m will be stolen by fraudsters between Black Friday and Christmas through purchase scams and with the majority of scams under £1k each, according to data recently released by UK Finance, the scale of the problem and the number of people impacted will be significant.
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.”
NatWest and Take 5 advice on avoiding purchase scams this year
Criminals spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment
Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices
Be careful what website you are purchasing from – have you ever heard of it or seen it before?
Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites
Where possible, use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive protection under the Credit Consumer Act
Don’t just go by a photo of an item – these can be easily faked
Purchase items made by a major brand from the list of authorised sellers listed on their official website
Be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails
Always ensure you click ‘log out’ or ‘sign out’ of websites.
STOP - Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE - Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT- Contact your bank immediately by dialling 159 if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
NatWest is also offering customers free Malwarebytes software to help with added online protection.