NatWest warns of increased scam threat this Black Friday

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
Hacker using laptop. Hacking the Internet.
NatWest is warning of an increase in scams this Black Friday due to the rise in online shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Getty

NatWest (NWG.L) is warning of a 40% increase in the number of scams reported this Black Friday compared to the same time last year amid a rise in online shopping scams.

Cyber-criminals have been taking advantage of the rise in the number of customers shopping online due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Common scams include the use of fake adverts for the sale of designer clothes, trainers and the iPhone 12. Items are offered for sale but are never delivered, are of poor quality, or customers receive items they did not order.

NatWest customers have reported many scams connected to purchases from sellers they’ve found on Facebook Marketplace.

NatWest processed over 1 million transactions per hour during the discount shopping event in 2019. This year — 27 November — the figure is expected to be significantly higher.

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Across the main Christmas shopping period last year — 29 November to 19 December 2019 — NatWest successfully flagged and prevented 39,181 fraudulent transactions, preventing debit and credit card customers from losing over £11.64m, according to the bank.

Jason Costain, head of fraud prevention at NatWest said: “A record number of customers are doing their Christmas shopping online this year and we’ve seen evidence that criminals are getting ready for a bumper Christmas too.

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“Beware of fake adverts on the internet. Just because a company appears at the top of an internet search result, or advertises on social media, it does not mean they are genuine.

“Our customers tell us that they are seeing fake ads popping up within Google search results or being advertised on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, GumTree, and eBay.”

NatWest has shared three top tips to help avoid becoming a victim of an online scam this Christmas:

Buy from trusted retailers

Remember that a seller is not necessarily trustworthy just because they appear on Google. Some websites take your card details and never deliver your order. A few simple checks could help you avoid a scam —check whether they have a phone number, good reviews and if you’ve heard of them before.

Paying direct into a sellers bank account

“When buying goods from sites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay or GumTree always follow fraud advice on the site and never pay directly into a sellers bank account,” the experts advised.

Paying by card is the safest way to shop online

If your goods don’t arrive you are protected and your bank can help get your money back if you’ve paid by card.

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