Avoid the scammers this Black Friday

Black Friday (24 Nov) is fast approaching – a time of year when cyber criminals are out in force, preying on unsuspecting shoppers who are keen for a bargain.

We are already seeing an influx of fake websites appearing, offering some irresistible deals and urging people to ‘buy now’ before it’s too late.

But the consequence of making a purchase from such sites can be severe, including:

Having your bank details compromised (especially if they ask you to pay by bank transfer – never do that!); losing your money on products that simply don’t exist or are fake; identify theft; and opening the door to malware and other viruses.

So, how do you spot a fake or fraudulent website? We’ve pulled together some pointers:


How to spot a scam website


  • Is the discount or offer too good to be true? – then it probably is!
  • Check the domain name – stick to well known retailers and make sure you’re on their actual site. Scammers may use a domain name that’s similar but not quite right. Also avoid anything along the lines of ipaddeals.com and those ending .net or .org, which can be another red flag.
  • Check the site quality – look out for spelling and grammar mistakes, and the use of low quality images and graphics. (Although access to AI and other tools is now helping criminals overcome this).
  • Read reviews – new sites popping up are unlikely to have any, or you may find people have already flagged that it’s a scam website.
  • Check the basics are covered – genuine companies will have a detailed returns policy and contact information on their site, not just one generic email address.
  • Look for a padlock symbol – check there is a padlock symbol next to the URL. This alone doesn’t mean a site is safe as it can be faked but in combination with other checks, is something to look out for.
  • Don’t just blindly follow a link on social media – platforms like Facebook can be used by criminals to target unsuspecting shoppers. Never blindly follow a link on social media, no matter how impressive the reviews under the post may appear to be.
  • Stick to what you know – only buy online from sites you already know and brands you trust.


As a final tip, as well as being wary about which websites you visit, one of the safest ways to shop online is using a credit card that will offer fraud liability protection. Debit cards do not.

If you think you have fallen for a scam, then take action immediately. Inform your bank and monitor your account activity. You can also contact Action Fraud.

To find out more about safeguards for your business IT systems and our comprehensive cybersecurity services, please contact Dragon on 0330 363 0055, or email lionel@dragon-is.com.