Shoppers beware: Scammers are looking forward to YOUR Black Friday giveaway

16 November 2018
  • Shopping scams represent three quarters (78 per cent) of all reported scam cases

  • One in five high value shopping scams (21 per cent) result in losses of more than £5000

  • With one in six millennials (59 per cent) planning to make a purchase this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Barclays issues new warning in its mission to beat scammers

Bargain hunters beware. Careless shoppers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be in line for big losses, according to new data from Barclays.


Millennials are at risk, with Barclays research showing that over half (54 per cent) have saved up throughout the year for the event, and one third (32 per cent) plan to purchase high cost electrical items such as a TV or laptop. This is despite 53 per cent stating that they have concerns about being scammed on the day.


Despite concerns, shoppers of all ages are overlooking the scam warning signs – more than half (52 per cent) would make a purchase with a company that doesn’t request delivery details, and nearly two-thirds (56 per cent) would be comfortable using an unfamiliar website.


Throughout the year, shoppers take on average 7 hours to buy a piece of clothing. On Black Friday, over a third (35 per cent) take under five minutes to splash the cash on clobber.  


So, while the biggest event in the shopping calendar offers a great chance for savvy shoppers to get their hands on a great deal, it also presents scammers with a golden opportunity to make a quick buck. Shopping scams, where the victim pays in advance for goods never received, make up a staggering 78 per cent of all reported scam cases.


Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of high value shopping scams result in a loss of £2000 or more, equating to more than the UK’s average monthly salary[1], with one in five (21 per cent) resulting in a loss of more than £5000 –more than five Premier League season tickets.


To help Brits stay vigilant, Barclays is calling on the one in four (39 per cent) UK shoppers planning to splash the cash this Black Friday and Cyber Monday to take greater care when making their purchases.


Barclays top tips for staying safe this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1. Think before making a purchase

On shopping sale days, people take significantly less time to purchase household items such as a sofa - one in 10 take under five minutes, compared to one in 25 on a non-sale day. This is also true for fridges and dishwashers, as well as televisions and laptops. Be sure to stop and think before you buy – is the website the real deal?

2. Don’t ignore your concerns
One in four (39 per cent) plan to make purchases this Black Friday even though 52 per cent have concerns about being scammed on the day - do not click on any links, or open any attachments in emails from people you don’t recognise

3. Learn from previous mistakes
Shoppers need to be vigilant in learning from mistakes. Over half (54 per cent) would still make a purchase at a shop they were previously scammed at. Never give out your PIN or online banking password – legitimate websites won’t ask for it

4. Watch out for deals that are too good to be true
Shoppers on average expect to spend nearly £300 this Black Friday, with some committing to spending up to £750 – quite a sum when you think that could cover a month’s rent or a holiday to Spain. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

5. Don’t expect to spend everything you have saved in advance
42 per cent of people put money aside in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Keep an eye on your bank balance so that you can spot and report fraudulent transactions quickly

Speaking about the results, psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw explains the psychology behind our fervent need to bag a bargain: “The fear of missing out, of experiencing regret because you’ve missed a bargain, of someone else getting that sought-after item: this all feeds an irrational buying frenzy that can lead to mistakes.


"Barclays data shows that ahead of this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers’ buying behaviour can lead to a high risk of being scammed. Rather than a shopper who is careless and loses money, be a shopper who feels pleased about money saved for goods that have been carefully purchased."


Ross Martin, Barclays Head of Digital Safety, said: “As thousands of us chase a deal on that new laptop this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, criminals are getting ready to jump on anyone who lets their guard down. My advice for Black Friday shoppers: beat the fraudsters by staying alert - warning bells should start to ring for those deals which appear too good to be true.


For more details on how to stay safe, visit www.barclays.co.uk/security


Barclays backs Take Five to Stop Fraud – a national campaign from UK Finance and Government offering straight-forward advice to help everyone prevent financial fraud.

[1] Office for National Statistics (ONS), October 2018

Barclays data on reported scams is from April 2017 – June 2018.


Additional research was carried out online by Opinium across a total of 2,008 consumers from 9th – 11th October 2018.