Cyber Monday shopping? How to spot SCAM websites and avoid being ripped off
But online shopping comes with risks, and recent research from comparethemarket.com has found cyber criminals are expected to pocked £8.6million from tomorrow’s spending bonanza alone.
The website’s spokesman Simon McCulloch said: “Cyber Monday is a major retail event and a salmon run for criminals who will try to seize money from unsuspecting shoppers and retail outlets.”
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime, released figures showing Christmas shoppers were fleeced out of more than £10million in online scams last year.
Alex Neill from consumer body which? added: “If you see any deals advertised on Cyber Monday that look too good to be true, be careful. Fraudsters will do all they can to try and catch you out.”
But there are ways to protect yourself.
Firstly, double-check the domain name. Which? said: “A lot of fraudulent websites will use a domain name similar to a brand or product name. For example, website domains such as ipadoffers.net or discountnikeclothes.com should set alarm bells ringing.”
Be wary of domains which end in .net or .org, as they are rarely used for online shopping and may be misused by dodgy organisations.
Keep an eye out for poor spelling, grammar and English. Which? said: “This could mean the site isn’t genuine and has been put together by someone abroad looking to make a quick profit.”
Check what the shipping and returns policy is - if there isn’t one, proceed with caution.
When using a website, ensure the address beings “https”, and if you are unsure, check forums where other consumers alert people to scam pages.
Before purchasing, check the company’s social media feeds for recent activity and to see what other consumers have said about them.
Keep a close eye on your bank statement for unusual activity, as cyber criminals often make small but regular thefts which are harder to spot than large one-off amounts.