The old saying of “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”, are wise words to consider most of the time, but especially during Black Friday.
Every year the water gets murky as every supplier runs crazy deals “while stocks last” to grab your attention and get you onto their website in the hope that you will find something else to buy whilst your there.
The opportunity is obvious: you manage to find the deal of a lifetime, pay for it and it is delivered in full working order, complete with bragging rights on your purchasing prowess.
The risk is harder to access as online fraud is a growing and often well capitalised industry specifically designed to target an audience that are increasing sceptical and careful.
The scam comes with great social media marketing, a well-designed website complete with happy customer references, and fully enabled online purchasing capabilities. It all looks credible, until the delivery doesn’t turn up, the website vanishes and the phone numbers on the order confirmation email transfer you to a call centre in Timbuktu.
Worse, the scammers now know who you are, where you live and your bank account details, and it’s not hard to backfill a great deal more information from your social media activities. One bad experience can just the beginning of the nightmare.
These risks are also becoming far more common for businesses, as we all buy more online at work, because it is so fast and convenient.
There is no “magic bullet” to protecting yourself unless you restrict your online purchasing to businesses that you know of, whether at home or work.
So my advice, if it looks too good to be true, don’t take the risk, because the downside far exceeds the potential benefit!