‘Purchase Scams’, where fraudsters trick shoppers into paying in advance for goods or services that are never received, are the most common type of scam seen by the bank and are rife at this time of year. The number of purchase scam victims seen is expected to spike this year between Black Friday and the New Year as people are more set on finding a bargain due to the current increase in cost of living. These ingredients make it fertile ground for scammers.
Typically, these scams ask you to send money via bank transfer rather than using a card, offer a product that is much below the market value or has limited availability or persuade you to send money before receiving a service. Many scams seen by HSBC UK are advertised on social media or other online marketplaces, or in some cases through legitimate looking websites that have actually been set up by fraudsters.
For some people, the increased number of online purchases across Black Friday and for Christmas also puts them at risk to ‘smishing’ attempts, as scammers use the pretence of a missed delivery or arranging a delivery, to get unsuspecting people to click on a link and provide personal details. These details are then harvested by the scammers to carry out other types of fraud over a longer period of time, catching victims when they don’t expect it.
David Callington, HSBC UK’s Head of Fraud, said: “Black Friday can be a great time to bag a bargain, but it is also when scammers are working overtime to get your money and your personal details. Scammers see events like Black Friday and Christmas, when people are likely to have shopped online and are expecting more deliveries, as a great time to try and turn you into a scam victim.
“The excitement of finding a bargain and then wanting to receive it quickly can cloud your judgement, especially if you are up against time or believe an item is in short supply or a limited edition. Keep your wits about you, scammers are devious criminals who use a range of techniques to steal your money. Take a moment to research what you are buying and from whom, think about how you are paying for it, and make sure you don’t click on links and give away your personal details.
“The impact a fraud or scam can have on your life and finances can be significant and long-lasting, especially if you are not able to get the money back that you have had stolen. The good news is there are some simple steps that you can take to help protect yourself and keep your money safe.”
Purchase scams - things to remember:
Delivery scams – things to remember:
David Callington added: “An additional element to Delivery Scams is the risk of inadvertently installing spyware on your device. The malicious software, known as FluBot, is affecting Android phones and devices across the UK. The spyware is installed when a victim receives a text message, asking them to install a tracking app due to a ‘missed package delivery’. The tracking app is in fact spyware that steals passwords and other sensitive data. For more on FluBot visit the National Cyber Security Centre website.
HSBC UK has recently updated and expanded its free Fraud and Cyber Awareness mobile app to provide additional protection to retail banking customers.
The app is available to download by everyone, whether they are customers or not, or use Android or iOS platforms, and comes as HSBC UK reveals the most common ways fraudsters are scamming people out of thousands of pounds right now and how you can spot their tricks.
Note to editors:
About HSBC UK
HSBC UK serves over 14.85 million customers across the UK, supported by 23,500 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 63 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,992bn at 30 September 2022, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.