Avoid Online Shopping Fraud on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

As the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have grown, so has the level of online shopping fraud associated with these two big days of web retail.


A recent report estimated that almost £20m will be stolen from UK online shoppers over the 2 days – analysis of previous online sales figures and cybercrime statistics by comparethemarket.com found that the amount spent online could increase tenfold over the two days as shoppers look to cash in on the sales, potentially causing many to become targets for online hackers. They estimate that almost £10 million will be stolen as a result of the surge in online activity on Black Friday (25th November 2016) and £8.6 million on Cyber Monday (28th November 2016).

Here’s the figures showing how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have grown, and the estimates for 2016:

2014 2015 2016†
Spent Stolen Spent Stolen Spent Stolen
Black Friday
£810m £5m £1,100m £6m £1,402m £10m
Cyber Monday
£720m £4.5m £968m £5.5m £1,222m £8.6m

† All figures in italics are estimates

The increase in potential cyber security threats comes as more and more people rely on online shopping. A survey of 2,000 consumers found that nearly half (46%) plan to do their Christmas shopping online, equating to 23 million adults in the UK. This changing shopping behaviour further underlines the great cybersecurity challenge as millions of people make online transactions. However, consumers are less reliant on online shopping when it comes to planning Christmas day itself, with nearly three quarters of UK adults (72%) planning to do their food shopping in store and only 13% ordering their Christmas dinner online.

These findings follow recent cybercrime research from comparethemarket.com, which found that one in ten people have been the victim of a cyber-attack on their credit or debit card in the past year. In 62% of cases, money was successfully removed from the account with an average of £475 stolen. At a national level this equates to 4.5 million credit or debit cards cancelled in the last twelve months.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just a few days away, we’ve put together a few tips for avoiding cyber fraud.

Tips To Avoid Cyber Fraud

  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! – There’s no better way to avoid cyber fraud than not buying anything at all! This tip is really aimed at helping shoppers stay out of debt, but the added knock on effect is that by minimising your spending online, you can reduce the chances of getting caught out too.
  • Register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode. – This helps to protect your card against unauthorised use.
  • Check the site you’re buying on is secure – In the past, it used to just be website checkouts that were secure, but these days, you should find that for most big site, the whole site is secure – you can check this from the website address which should begin https:// rather than http://. Your browser will probably also show a (often green) lock icon or something similar to denote that you’re on a secure site.
  • Keep your computer up-to-date – This is quite a wide subject, but in short you should try to ensure that your operating system (eg. Windows), anti virus and programs are all kept up-to-date with the latest security patches. This makes you less susceptible to hacks and malware which might leak your credit card details or send you to scam sites.
  • Type in the web address, rather than going through a search engine or email. – There are more and more fake sites being setup to look like legitimate brands, and sometimes you can end up clicking on advert on a search engine or on a link in an email which you may believe to be legitimate but could take you to a fake site. Typing the address in to your browser is generally a safer way to navigate to your favourite sites.

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