In 2021, Black Friday was reported as having outperformed Christmas sales while in 2022, a staggering 74 percent of South African consumers were reported as having plans to shop on Black Friday.
According to Fastway Couriers’ 2022 records, Black Friday-related deliveries yielded a 32 percent increase between October and November, and a 66 percent increase for November year-on-year.
It’s therefore safe to say that Black Friday has turned into a well-supported shopping holiday. The same goes for Cyber Monday when many consumers take advantage of massive savings in the tech and gadget industry.
Sadly, along with the rapid growth of most things involving money, comes an increase in crime.
According to research conducted by Surfshark in 2022, South Africa ranked 5th on a global cyber crime density list.
Scams involving the Post Office are widely reported on, but what about the courier industry during these big sale days?
“Of the 1.2 million parcel movements over this period, less than 0.5 percent are reported for scam related crime, so the odds are minuscule,” said Daniel Lombard, Fastway Couriers Managing Director.
“Regardless, if you are the unfortunate victim, it is still devastating.”
So what kind of courier related scams can we expect to find out there?
Don’t get caught by phishing
“Fraudsters have been known to use phishing as their modus operandi, masquerading as a legitimate person or company, using fake emails or other messaging methods to acquire personal details in order to transfer funds to fraudulent accounts,” Lombard pointed out.
Consumers are targeted when they list an item for sale on an online store or marketplace and are contacted by an ‘interested buyer’ purportedly wanting to use a courier to arrange payment, as well as collect and deliver the item.
During the payment arrangement process, scammers send fake emails, SMS, or instant messages with a fraudulent link, pretending to be someone they are not.
“We always recommend to anyone who wants to remain vigilant, that obvious telltale signs to look for are things like spelling mistakes and unusual links/URLs,” he cautioned.
“Also be vigilant when a request is posed as urgent or if someone calls asking for immediate action.”
Cash is not always king
A survey on Black Friday by The Debt Rescue found that 77 percent of people intended using cash as their preferred payment method on Black Friday, perhaps as a result of over-extended credit.
This unfortunately can play into the hands of potential fraudsters.
“At Fastway for example, we will never request a cash payment and we encourage South Africans to see a request of this kind as a red flag,” he warned.
“In fact, payment of any kind to the receiver of a parcel should ring alarm bells and is typically not common practice.”
What to do if you have been scammed
In this unfortunate event, consumers should report the ‘interested buyer’ to the online store/marketplace site they have purchased from.
If a suspicious link or document has been opened and fraudulent activity is suspected, consumers are urged to immediately contact their bank and block the scammers email address.
Don’t let this deter you from all the great savings that can be found this Black Friday, but rather remain vigilant, especially when shopping online during peak trading periods.