Facebook Marketplace is the most used site by scammers, NatWest has revealed, with Instagram, eBay and Gumtree making up the top four for Black Friday.
Research by the bank has shown that social networking sites are the most targeted by scammers.
Facebook’s buying and selling site was the most reported for scams in the UK, according to data collected between September 1 and November 22, followed by Instagram.
The report comes as shoppers are expected to flock online for Black Friday, one of the busiest online shopping times of the year, to take advantage of discounts and sales before Christmas.
eBay is also popular with scammers, ranking third, with ad and community website Gumtree in fourth, NatWest said.
Facebook Marketplace is the most used site by scammers, NatWest has revealed. Pictured: A stock photo of Facebook on a phone and laptop
NatWest research has found that social networking sites are the most targeted by scammers ahead of Black Friday
The investigation found that common scams on the social networking sites include promotional items at heavily discounted prices.
The popular scam involves the seller asking the buyer to pay via bank transfer before the product arrives.
Jason Costain, head of Fraud Prevention at NatWest, said, “Don’t let fake influencers or salespeople steal your Christmas by sending them payment for gifts you’ll never receive.
“It’s fraudsters’ favorite time of year, so make sure you’re wary of buying goods you’ve seen on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.”
Between September 1 and November 2, more than 1,000 scams were reported on Facebook Marketplace, and an additional 391 filed complaints about Instagram.
A total of 170 were also reported on eBay and 153 on Gumtree, the data showed.
It follows warnings from experts who say that fraudsters are becoming “more sophisticated” in their efforts to scam people out of their hard-earned money.
Research has shown that more than 1,000 scams were reported on Facebook Marketplace between September 1 and November 2. Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Nearly a quarter of people aged 18 to 34 in the UK are saddened to have fallen for an online shopping scam in 2019, with some losing thousands of pounds.
It is believed that scammers use multiple ways to convince people to part with their money, including fake emails and fake social media posts linking to websites that steal their credit card information.
Scams also include emails promising “must-have Black Friday deals” and cheap TVs, laptops and designer items.
It follows from research by Which? warning that thousands of cheap electronics sold online on Black Friday could expose us to cybercriminals.
It found more than 1,800 smart tech products for sale that use apps with “inadequate security protections,” potentially exposing users to hackers or “breaching their data privacy.”
The offending products — including smart doorbells, wireless cameras, alarms and tablets — are mostly cheap imitations of reputable brands.
Advice and tips to avoid scammers this Christmas
Research conducted by NatWest has provided tips and advice to help buyers avoid scams in the run up to Christmas:
Watch out for unexpected emails: Fake emails and texts are doing the rounds – be suspicious of emails, texts or phone calls that appear to be from a real organization or company. Fraudsters use these as a way to steal your personal information. When in doubt, do not click on links or download any files.
Be extra vigilant when receiving emails asking you to update your payment information: Many of us have received an email from Amazon UK announcing that they no longer accept UK Visa credit cards as a method of payment. While this announcement is genuine, you should be vigilant for emails asking you to update your payment information. NatWest advises making changes by accessing your Amazon account directly and being careful about clicking links in an email. Phone calls from Amazon asking for personal or financial information, or to update payment information may be a scam and you should hang up. Impersonating trusted organizations by fraudsters is a growing crime.
Don’t be fooled by buying online: Everyone loves a bargain, but be vigilant when buying from social media and online marketplaces. Always do your research on the seller and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is and could be a scam. Please check the contact details on the website, if no address or phone number is listed, it is an indication that the site may not be genuine.
Use secure websites: Make sure the web address in your browser starts with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ at the end indicates a secure connection. Look for spelling mistakes or strange characters in the web address – this can sometimes indicate a fake site. However, keep in mind that a secure page does not mean that the retailer is reputable.
Always use a safe way to pay: Pay with your debit or credit card – it’s a safer way to pay and gives you more protection. If a seller tells you that they can’t accept card payment and asks you to send them money directly, it could be a scam. Fraudsters often make up stories to get you to transfer your money to a bank account instead of paying it any other way – be suspicious if someone asks you to do this.
Don’t give anyone your full details: Scammers are persuasive. If someone claiming to be from the bank, the police or any other organization you trust contacts you and asks for information such as login details, access codes, card reader codes, remote access to your device or telling you to transfer money from your account, don If you don’t, it’s probably a scam.