Skip to main content

The dark side of Black Friday: Brits targeted by 7 million* scam attempts

12th November 2019


Yet, only one in ten Brits think about online fraud in peak shopping period around Black Friday and Cyber Monday

New research from TSB shows that a quarter (24%) of UK consumers who have shopped on Black Friday or Cyber Monday say they have experienced attempts at fraud during the weekend sales in the past. Despite the large number of people who have experienced attempts at fraud, TSB’s research shows that only one in ten (14%) think about whether a website appears fraudulent when shopping in these sales. 

The findings also reveal that almost a third (30%) of Brits are planning to shop in the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a hotspot for fraudulent activity - at peak shopping moments scammers are likely to take advantage of shoppers with fake websites, identity theft and fake adverts. According to the latest annual results for the Crime Survey for England and Wales2, there has been a 17% increase in fraud offences over the last year. 

Watch out for Black Friday buyer’s remorse

And avoiding fraud isn’t the only thing Brits should watch out for this Black Friday. Last year, Brits who shopped on Black Friday spent an average £235, and the findings show that this year a quarter (24%) of shoppers are set to spend more. With only 4% setting a budget for Black Friday spending and just 3% planning to save in advance, it’s not surprising that over a third of Brits who have shopped on Black Friday or Cyber Monday (36%) have previously regretted their Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending. 

Shoppers more cautious about credit card debt 

Despite not being vigilant when it comes to fraud, TSB’s data shows that shoppers are being more careful when it comes to spending, perhaps as a result of the current economic and politic uncertainty. The research shows that only 7% of consumers who are likely to shop in the sales this year plan to use a credit card to make purchases. The UK has seen a dramatic drop in credit card spending over recent months. The Bank of England announced that in September the extra amount borrowed by consumers in order to buy goods and services fell by £100 million to £800 million3, and for the second month in a row was below £1.1 billion, the average since July 2018.

With almost a third of people planning to shop, here are TSB´s top tips for staying savvy this Black Friday:

Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, shares three top tips to protect yourself from fraud this Black Friday:  

  1. Desperate to get that ‘must-have’ coat/shoes/electricals and you find one in stock? Ask yourself if that’s too good to be true. Do you recognise the website? Trust the retailer? Is the price just too tempting?

    Remember – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

  2. Bombarded by Black Friday emails? Be vigilant of scam emails. Fraudsters could make the most of the opportunity to email you the best Black Friday offers. However, fraudster’s websites can be identical to real ones. Fraudsters will list products for sale that don’t exist. Are all the images copied from a web search? Being asked to make a payment outside of the auction site’s normal process?

    Treat an electronic payment like you would cash – don’t send one to somebody you don’t know and trust. Always use a trusted website and stick to their recommended payment process. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check the domain name to ensure there’s an ‘s’ on the end of ‘http’ which indicates the site is secure. 

  3. Shopping on the go? Many of us do more online shopping versus traditional means, but make sure you’re protecting yourself and avoid making purchases using public Wi-Fi. Fraudsters are able to compromise public Wi-Fi easily, so it’s worth eating into your own data and staying safe. 

    Fraudsters also use messaging apps like WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, to circulate links to ‘money off’ vouchers or discounts. Sometimes they require you to share them with 10 people before they become activated. Black Friday is a minefield of offers, and more often than not these links are just a ploy to infect your device with malware or make you part with your personal information.

Above everything, stop and think before you click. Fraudsters thrive on stressful or rushed situations, because we’re less likely to think things through before making a payment or surrendering our information. 

Always give yourself enough time to make a good decision – and don’t give a fraudster an easy ride. 


Media Contacts


Avni Raval, Media Relations Manager
T: 0207 003 9369 | E:

TSB Media Relations
T: 020 7003 9369 | 
Follow us on twitter: @TSB_News 


Notes to editors


*Figure calculated by Opinium, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,003 UK adults. The research showed that 268 said they have experienced a type of fraud as a result of shopping online in the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. 268 / 2003 X 52,383,000 (UK adult population) = 7,008,809 or 7 million people. 


3 Bank of England Stats:


5 Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be from 29 November 2019 to 2 December 2019.

6 Research of 2,003 UK adults (18+) was conducted by Opinium between 25th – 29th October 2019.