£15.4million was stolen by scammers during the last holiday season and as Black Friday looms consumers should be “extra vigilant”. With Amazon recently announcing the move to stop accepting Visa credit cards, blaming the rising fees they faced being charged, NatWest has warned that scammers could exploit the situation.
However, consumers should be wary of any emails they receive from Amazon or other eCommerce platforms they are subscribed to asking them to update or change their payment details.
NatWest advised that rather than sending the updated details through the email as might be suggested, people should make the changes directly on their Amazon account.
Additionally, phone calls supposedly from Amazon asking for personal details, financial information or to update payment details should be hung up on immediately.
This method of scamming victims is becoming increasingly popular by fraudsters, who impersonate trusted brands like Amazon.
In light of the upcoming expensive holiday season, consumers are reminded that they should be vigilant especially with messages from trusted brands and on social media.
Between September 1 and November 22 last year, Facebook Marketplace was the most reported site for scams with Instagram coming in second place, according to data published by NatWest.
The most common scams on these sites are offering goods at heavily discounted prices, the seller will usually ask the buyer to pay via bank transfer before the goods can be seen or retrieved.
eBay and Gumtree fill out the quartet of the websites with the most reported scams.
NatWest noted that any unexpected emails, texts or calls should be approached with caution and that consumers should not provide any information over the phone nor click any links or download files.
With Black Friday falling this week, companies appear to be bombarding consumers with specials and bargains every way they possibly can but consumers are advised that if a deal seems too good to be true it most likely is.
NatWest said websites with no address or phone number may be an indication of sites to be wary of.
Securely connected websites are also indicated with the ‘s’ in ‘https://’, and spelling errors or strange characters in a store’s web address could signal a potential scam.
Consumers are advised that a secure page still does not mean the retailer is entirely reputable.
NatWest said paying with a debit or credit card is one of the safest ways to pay online.
If a seller asks for shoppers to send them money directly it could be a scam, no matter how realistic their reasoning for asking may be.
Lastly, NatWest said shoppers should avoid giving anyone their full details or ideally, not to give any details at all if they are even slightly suspicious.