Warning over Black Friday ‘salmon run’ for cyber crime

Consumers should consider paying for all purchases with a credit card
Consumers should consider paying for all purchases with a credit card

Cyber criminals are expected to steal more than £18.5 million from UK bank accounts over Black Friday and Cyber Monday as shoppers flock online, according to a report.

Consumers are being warned to regularly check their bank statements for any unusual activity with almost £10 million expected to be stolen on Black Friday and £8.6 million on Cyber Monday in a “salmon run” for cyber criminals, comparethemarket.com said.

It follows recent findings from the website that one in 10 people has been the victim of a cyber attack on their credit or debit card in the past year, with money successfully removed from the account in 62% of cases at an average amount of £475.

A survey of 2,000 consumers found that nearly half (46%) plan to do their Christmas shopping online, equating to 23 million adults in the UK.

Simon McCulloch, director at comparethemarket.com, said: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a major event in the retail calendar. It is also a salmon run for cyber criminals, who will try to seize money from unsuspecting shoppers and retail outlets.

“Consumers should regularly check bank statements for any unusual activity, as cyber criminals often make small but regular thefts which are harder to spot than larger one-off purchases.”

Experts advise consumers to consider paying for all purchases with a credit card, which offers additional protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Shoppers should also register cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode, which protects against unauthorised use, and always check that a website address begins with https:// rather than http://.