With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, Financial Fraud Action (FFA UK) is urging shoppers to ‘Take Five’ before they click when buying online.

The FFA UK has today revealed that almost a third (31%) of British online shoppers admit that they are more likely to take a financial risk, such as shopping on an unfamiliar or unsecure website, if an online retailer offers them a bargain.

This means that there are potentially 15 million online shoppers who could be putting themselves at risk of financial fraud. Those aged 16 to 34-years-old are most at risk, with almost half of that age group (46%) admitting they are more likely to take a chance, compared to just 18% of people aged 55 or over.

The findings come at the start of the festive shopping season, with Black Friday (November 25) and Cyber Monday (November 28) offering an upsurge of deals and limited time discounts.

It is also a time when fraudsters will benefit from the bargain frenzy as they try to entice people into giving away their debit and credit card details on fake retail websites.

Criminals use scam emails, or fake ads on social media, or internet searches promising large discounts on desirable goods, to trick people into visiting the fake sites and entering their card details. Once the fraudster has harvested this information, they can then use the details to commit remote purchase fraud.

Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK, said: “Shopping on the internet is easy, convenient and generally very safe, but it can also provide an opportunity for criminals to commit financial fraud from a distance.

“Our research shows that while more than eight in 10 people recognise that shoppers are more susceptible to financial fraud during this time of year, many are still willing to take a risk if they think there is a bargain to be had.

“Fraudsters will use a variety of convincing tactics to entice unsuspecting shoppers to give over their financial details – from unsolicited emails, to fake retail websites and bogus ads. Shoppers, wanting to take advantage of these too good to be true deals, are putting themselves at risk by not taking the time to ‘Take Five’ and protect themselves.”

Online shoppers are being encouraged to Take Five before they buy to avoid falling victim to financial fraud this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Advice includes:

  • If you’re 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;
  • Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to believe then there is usually a catch. Be suspicious of prices that are too good to be true;
  • 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;
  • Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar. It’s a good indication that they’re reputable;
  • Only use retailers you trust, for example ones you know or have been recommended to you. If you’re buying an item made by a major brand, you can often find a list of authorised sellers on their official website.

Consumers and businesses can get more tips and advice on how to protect themselves from financial fraud by visiting the campaign website www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk