Black Friday brings amazing deals and specials but unfortunately, it also brings with it scams, fraud and opportunists. As an example, in 2016 when the first Black Friday was held, Shoprite turned away thousands of people because a fake ad had gone around on the internet, advertising incredibly low prices. The problem? Shoprite was not doing Black Friday that year.
At the moment there is a WhatsApp scam doing the rounds that claims SPAR is offering R3000 gift vouchers to people who fill out a survey and share it via WhatsApp to their contacts. SPAR has publicly stated that there is no such promotion going.
So with so many promotions and ads going around, how do you know which are real and which are fake? It can be difficult but here we will give you tips on a few scams and dangers to look out for this coming Black Friday.
Beware the Bait-and-Switch
Bait-and-switch is when one thing is offered but another thing is given.
One of the ways these scams operate is similar to the current SPAR scam. They will offer something like a free gift or a gift card. All you need to do is fill in some personal information and complete a survey. You will get a message telling you that all you need to do to get the free gift is to send the link to a certain number of your contacts. If you do that you will either get a message saying that you will be contacted or that you missed it and need to do it again or simply nothing will happen once you have done so. So what’s the point? Simple, you have provided personal information which criminals can use or sell to others and you spread that to your friends.
Sometimes following a link like that could even install malware on your phone which automatically sends that to your contacts.
How do you Avoid This?
Easy, don’t click on links that you don’t know and if you receive a message like that, use another way to contact your friend and ask them about it. You can also simply go onto Google and search for the company and promotion and add the word ‘scam’. (For example: SPAR R2999 gift card scam).
Another common scam especially in this time leading up to Christmas. Fake Facebook pages pop up, usually promoting a very expensive item like an iPhone and requiring a certain number of likes. This known as “Like farming”. Once the number is reached it changes to another product and then the scammers make money on pay-per-click links. In some cases, this can even be used to steal your personal information.
At this time of year, many of us order products online from places like Takealot or Amazon. A common scam is one that informs you via email or SMS that there was a delivery which could not be made to you. You need to log on through the link and fill in your address and details again or even pay extra to have the delivery corrected.
This is another way to steal your personal information and even your money.
How to Avoid This:
Keep track of all the deliveries you are expecting. If there is a problem or you do receive a message like that, call the legitimate company and confirm with them.
Fake it Till you Make it
Another common scam during this time is fake or cloned websites. They may look exactly like a website you know and trust but look carefully at the URL. For example, you might think that you are on the Takealot website but if you look closely the URL says www.takealott.com instead of www.takealot.com. While you might be browsing the exact site, when it comes to payment, your card or banking information is stolen.
This is not so much a scam as a common yet dubious tactic by stores around the world. Before something like Black Friday or Christmas, stores often begin to raise the price of an item, then when they advertise it as a sale, the price is actually the exact same as it has been all year round. You might be paying less for it than you would have the week before but you are paying the same price you paid for the rest of the year. For example, a product might cost R3000 which you feel is too expensive so you wait for a special. Just before that special, the price is R4000 then when the special happens it is R3000 and you “save” R1000. It was too expensive earlier but now you spend R3000 because you think it is cheaper. The best way to avoid this is to keep an eye on product prices, especially things that you are thinking of buying for Christmas or on Black Friday. This is difficult to do all the time but it can actually save you money by stopping you from spending money you normally wouldn’t have.
Sign up for our Black Friday Specials Alerts in order to stay up to date with any new specials.
Written by: Clifford Ekron
Last updated: November 20, 2018