Black Friday, the pre-Christmas sales bonanza that sends Britain into a consumer frenzy every year, returns at the end of this week.
Hordes of shoppers will be hitting Britain's high streets and going online to secure bargains, but as many as 15 million web shoppers could be putting themselves at risk of financial fraud.
More than £18.5m is expected to be stolen from UK bank accounts over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to comparethemarket.com, with those aged 16 to 34 most at risk.
Here are five top tips from Financial Fraud Action UK on how to avoid falling prey to internet scammers.
- 1. Take five before you buy
If you are using a retailer for the first time, always take time to research them before you give them any of your details. Be prepared to ask questions before buying.
- 2. Trust your instincts
If an offer looks too good to believe, then there is often a catch.
- 3. Be sure you know who you are dealing with
Always access the website you are planning to buy from by typing the address into your web browser, and be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails.
- 4. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar
It is a good indication that the retailer is reputable.
- 5. Only use retailers you trust
For example, ones you know or that have been recommended to you. If you are buying an item made by a major brand, you can often find a list of authorised sellers on their official website.