Shoppers are being urged to be vigilant this week when hunting for a Black Friday bargain and not fall victim to a scam.
Many people will be looking to take advantage of lower prices with Christmas around the corner, but Nottingham City Council’s Trading Standards department is reiterating its message that if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.
Professional-looking websites can be set up quickly by criminals selling fake, dangerous or even non-existent goods. To avoid falling for a scam, be sure to follow the Take Five advice before making any purchase online:
- Take a moment to pause and think before parting with money or giving out personal information;
- Don’t feel rushed by countdown clocks or ‘low stock’ warnings.
- Consider whether a website could be fake. A good tip is to read online reviews of websites and sellers;
- When looking at a major brand’s products, check its website for a list of authorised sellers;
- Be suspicious of any ‘too good to be true’ offers or prices;
- Question purchases that require payment by bank transfer instead of more secure payment options like a debit or credit card.
- If a person believes they have fallen for a scam, it’s important to try not to panic or ignore it. Contact the bank immediately on a recognised number like the one on the back of a bank card;
- Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk
Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Safety at Nottingham City Council, said: “We know how hard things are at the moment with a national cost-of-living crisis which is unfortunately affecting so many in our city.
“The sad truth is that there are some despicable people who will deliberately use periods of uncertainty like this to con others out of their money and possessions. Black Friday will be seen as an ideal opportunity to do that.
“Our officers support many residents every year who have unfortunately fallen victim to scams, as well as trying to promote wider safety messages to the public. The aim is to stop people becoming victims in the first place, but we will also be there to help anyone who has been affected. The key thing is for people to talk to others if they think someone is trying to con them.”
For more advice, see Take Five’s website. People can also speak to a trained advisor or report the trading practices of a business by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. Alternately, contact them online.