HSBC UK issues Black Fraud-Day purchase scam warning

10 Nov, 2023

HSBC UK is warning consumers they need to double-down on their efforts to stop scammers and be on their guard over the next few weeks, with scammers using the ‘Black Friday’ online shopping frenzy as an opportunity to turn Black Friday into Black Fraud-Day.

While Black Friday is due to take place on 24th November, offers start to appear online before the day itself. With ‘Purchase Scams’ being by far the most popular type of scam, scammers have the perfect set of circumstances to ply their criminal trade, leaving unwitting consumers disappointed and significantly out of pocket.     

Over the last year, purchase scams have been on the increase. Recent scam data from HSBC UK has shown the average purchase scam carried out between July and September is £894, with the average value per case increasing to over £900 in September. The three-month period between July and September saw the most purchase scams reported so far this year.

David Callington, HSBC UK’s Head of Fraud, warned: “Bargain-hunters need to double-down on their efforts to shop safely, especially before Christmas, which is typically an expensive time of year. While the cost of living challenges are still lingering, retaining or improving our financial resilience should be extremely important, and losing money unnecessarily to a scam could have a significant impact on that.

“Month on month scammers steal millions of pounds through purchase scams, advertising items such as cars, campervans, holidays or tickets to a ‘must see’ concert or sporting event. Both our own data and that of UK Finance shows that the scourge of purchase scams is growing, with scammers content to scam more people with lower value items than specifically targeting victims for higher value frauds.

“Scammers are devious criminals who don’t care about the impact of their crime on the financial of mental wellbeing of their victims. Customers can help protect themselves and their money by taking note of some simple steps.”

HSBC UK has teamed up again with professional magician Troy von Scheibner in advance of Black Friday to highlight some of the tricks scammers will play on shoppers. For an insight into the mind of tricksters, visit our Purchase Scams page on our website’s Fraud and Security Centre. The videos are also available to watch on YouTube.

Advice on protecting yourself from purchase scams:

Purchase scams happen when you’re paying for an item or service. The item doesn’t arrive, or you don’t receive the service and your money is lost.

Typically, these scams:

·         ask you to send money via bank transfer

·         offer a too-good-to-be-true deal or discount

·         have ‘limited availability’, or are a ‘special offer’ to encourage you to act quickly

·         persuade you to send money before receiving a service

·         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


Remember to:

·         use safe sites when shopping online

·         check the returns and cancellations policy

·         research the retailer online to make sure they’re legitimate

·         stop and think – would you be willing to send cash in the post for an item you’ve ordered?

·         research and check the validity of the item before paying – ask to see it if possible

·         approach an independent professional to authenticate the goods or services you’re purchasing