Shoppers warned to stay vigilant against Black Friday sales scammers

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is urging shoppers to be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend (29th November-2nd December).

Black Friday’s popularity means that unsuspecting shoppers have become one of the main targets for criminals looking to offload counterfeit goods and make a profit.

As well as costing Scottish business millions of pounds each year, fake goods can be dangerous and harmful to health, especially counterfeit cosmetics, tobacco and alcohol.

SBRC is urging consumers to be vigilant this Black Friday weekend and only buy from credible retailers.

Eamonn Keane, Chief Operating Officer for Cyber and Innovation at SBRC, said: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can really tempt shoppers and trick them into thinking they’ve found an unbelievable bargain – when in reality their best buy might be a convincing fake.

“Every year we’re seeing more people fall into the trap of purchasing a counterfeit goods online, especially in the lead up to the festive period when people are actively looking for a good deal.

“The main thing to remember is that if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is and should be avoided.”

The illegal trading of fake goods is often also used to support organised crime gangs, human trafficking and exploitation of workers.

David MacCrimmon, Serious Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Lead at SBRC, added: “What a customer might think is a brilliant bargain might in fact be helping to fund serious organised crime and even terrorist groups.

“It’s not just the money from fake goods that criminals are profiting from – it’s also the exploitation of the workers who have made the products, some of whom may have been trafficked.”

SBRC has revealed some tips for shoppers to stay safe online this Black Friday weekend, including:

 Only buy using secure methods for transactions such as PayPal

Look out for the language on websites – poor grammar or spelling mistakes in product descriptions

Be wary of sites with no refunds policies

Take care when buying from sites like Gumtree and Facebook

Spend time on the website reviewing it before making any payments

If customers suspect a website is selling fake goods or an item they have purchased is counterfeit, they are advised to go directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.

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