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Shoppers urged to beware of scams ahead of Black Friday

28 November 2019

An online shopper with a Christmas jumper and a credit card.

Residents are being warned to shop cautiously ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Rochdale Borough Council's trading standards team are warning shoppers to beware of scams as this weekend's annual shopping spree approaches.

There are many ways that sellers con buyers online.

Criminals can operate behind sophisticated sales sites, use fake trademarks and brands, and even create bogus certification labels to entice shoppers.

When prices seem too good to be true, items like toys are often counterfeit and don't meet safety standards. Toys should always include an address of the manufacturer or importer which is within the EU, is CE marked and has full instructions.

Sellers using online marketplaces such as eBay or Facebook might ask for direct bank transfers. Never make bank transfers when purchasing items as your money cannot be recovered.

One way to protect yourself against scams is to make purchases on a credit card. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 provides legal protection when making purchases over £100 on credit cards. This means, in most cases, your credit card provider will reimburse you if something goes wrong with your purchase.

Nicola Rogers, head of public protection at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "With online crime on the rise, it's important that residents take steps to protect themselves.

"Lots of electronics and toys are purchased at this time of year and making sure you're buying a safe product is vital. Remember, if prices seem too good to be true, they probably are."

In 2018 online sales increased by 46% on the previous year, with UK shoppers forecasted to spend more than £2 billion on Black Friday (29 November 2019) and over £8 billion by the end of Cyber Monday (2 December 2019).