Facebook Marketplace is the most used site by scammers, Natwest reveals with Instagram, eBay and Gumtree making top four ahead of Black Friday

  • Social networking sites are most popular for fraudsters and scammers
  • NatWest research comes as shoppers flock online for Black Friday sales
  • Bank collected data on reported scams between September 1 and November 22
  • More than 1,000 scams were reported on Facebook Marketplace alone

Facebook Marketplace is the most used site by scammers, NatWest has revealed, with Instagram, eBay and Gumtree making up the top four ahead of Black Friday. 

Research carried out by the bank has found social networking sites are the most commonly targeted by scammers.

Facebook’s buying and selling site was the most reported for scams in Britain, according to data collected between September 1 and November 22, followed by Instagram.

The report comes as shoppers are expected to flock online for Black Friday, one of the busiest online shopping times of the year, to take advantage of discounts and sales ahead of Christmas.

eBay is also popular with scammers and was ranked third, with advertisement and community website Gumtree in fourth, NatWest said. 

Facebook Marketplace is the most used site by scammers, NatWest has revealed. Pictured: A stock image of the Facebook on a phone and laptop

NatWest research has found social networking sites are most targeted by scammers ahead of Black Friday

The research found common scams on the social networking sites include advertising goods at heavily discounted prices.

The popular scam involves the seller asking the buyer to pay via a bank transfer prior to the product arriving. 

Jason Costain, Head of Fraud Prevention at NatWest, said: ‘Don’t let fake influencers or sellers steal your Christmas by sending them a payment for presents you will never receive. 

‘It is the fraudsters’ favourite time of year, so make sure you’re on your guard when buying goods you’ve seen on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.’

More than 1,000 scams were reported on Facebook Marketplace over the period between September 1 and November 2, while a further 391 made complaints about Instagram.

A total of 170 were also reported on eBay and 153 on Gumtree, the data showed. 

It follows warnings from experts saying fraudsters are becoming ‘more sophisticated’ in their attempts to con people out of their hard earned cash.

More than 1,000 scams were reported on Facebook Marketplace between September 1 and November 2, research has shown. Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Nearly a quarter of people aged 18 to 34 in the UK sad they have fallen for a scam linked to online shopping in 2019, with some losing thousands of pounds.

Scammers are understood to be using multiple avenues to convince people to part with their money, including fake emails and false social media posts that link to websites that steal their credit card information.

Scams have also included emails that promise ‘unmissable Black Friday deals’ and cheap TVs, laptops and designer goods.

It follows research from Which? warning that thousands of cheap electronics being sold online on Black Friday could leave us exposed to cyber criminals. 

It found more than 1,800 smart tech products for sale that use apps with ‘inadequate security protection’, which could leave users exposed to hackers or ‘infringement of their data privacy’.

The offending products – which include smart doorbells, wireless cameras, alarms and tablets – tend to be cheap imitations of reputable brands.

Advice and tips on avoiding scammers this Christmas 

Research carried out by NatWest has offered tips and advice to help shoppers avoid scams in the run up to Christmas: 

Beware of unexpected emails: Fake emails and texts are doing the rounds – be suspicious of out of the blue emails, texts or phone calls that appear to be from a genuine organisation or company. Fraudsters use these as a way to steal your personal information. If in any doubt, don’t click on any links or download files.

Be extra vigilant when receiving emails asking you to update your payment details: Many of us will have received an email from Amazon UK announcing they are no longer accepting UK Visa Credit Cards as a method of payment. Whilst this announcement is genuine, you should be vigilant about emails requesting you update your payment details. NatWest advise making changes by accessing your Amazon account directly and be wary of clicking on any links provided in an email. Phone calls from Amazon asking for personal or financial information, or to update payment details, could be a scam and you should hang up. Impersonation of trusted organisations by fraudsters is a growing crime.

Don’t get caught out buying online: Everyone loves a bargain but be vigilant when buying from social media and online marketplaces. Always do your research on the seller and if a deal seems too good to be true it probably is and could be a scam. Check the contact details on the website, if there is no address given or phone number this is an indication that the site may not be genuine.

Use secure websites: Make sure the web address in your browser begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ at the end indicates a secure connection. Keep an eye out for spelling errors or strange characters in the web address – this can sometimes mean a fake site. However, remember a secure page does not mean the retailer is reputable.

Always use a safe way to pay: Pay with your debit or credit card – it’s a safer way to pay and gives you more protection. If a seller tells you they can’t accept a card payment and asks you to send them money directly, it could be a scam. Fraudsters often concoct stories to try to persuade you to transfer your money to a bank account instead of paying by another method – be suspicious of anyone asking you to do this.

Don’t give anyone your full details: Scammers are convincing. If anyone, claiming to be from the bank, police or another organisation you trust gets in touch and asks for information such as login details, passcodes, card reader codes, remote access to your device or tells you to transfer money from your account – don’t do it, it’s likely to be a scam.

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