Fraud victim finds it hard to trust anyone after falling for scam
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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.”
NatWest said one notable sign of a purchase scam is a time-based deal that adds pressure to the purchaser to buy on the spot without thinking.
The bank also highlighted the sites these scams were happening on most commonly were 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 the age groups shopping more online and feeling more confident in the purchases they are making.
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Alongside its warning, NatWest shared tips on how people can avoid falling victim to a purchase scam when shopping this year.
NatWest says criminals “spend hours researching you for their scams” in the hope that someone will let their guard down “for just one moment” so the scams are usually well-designed and will likely look authentic.
The bank urged people to be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices as most of the time, it will be.
NatWest said people should be careful about purchasing from a website they have never used before and to make sure the website offers a secure payment method by a reputable payment company.
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.
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