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Pushing back on purchase scams

It’s important to always keep an eye out for scams, but with Black Friday and the holiday season on the horizon, it’s crucial everyone in your business knows what to look out for.

Read our tips on how to help keep your business safe from scams.

Black Friday: could you spot a purchase scam?

Purchase scams happen when someone pays for goods or services – usually online, through a website or social media – but doesn’t receive them. They can be difficult to spot, with fraudsters often building realistic-looking websites but selling fake or non-existent products. You might come across deals that seem too good to be true or which are for a limited time only. These are techniques fraudsters use to pressure you into making a payment quickly and without confirming the products exist.

Red flags you should watch out for

Look out for deals that appear too good to be true. If the price seems unrealistic or the seller is putting pressure on you to act immediately, then it’s likely a scam.

Be alert if the seller will only accept bank transfer as a way to pay. If they won’t allow payment by an established and secure payment method, such as a credit card, this is a red flag.  

You can help protect your business in three simple steps

The National Cyber Security Centre promotes this simple online security structure: people, processes, technology. This three-step framework can strengthen your resilience against Black Friday fraudsters and other security threats to your business.

  1. People: You and your colleagues are your business’s first, and often strongest, line of defence. Use our free resources and interactive webinars to help upskill everyone, and give them the power to stop purchase scams right from the start.
  2. Processes: Put simple payment and admin processes in place that are followed by everyone, to build another layer of defence. For example, two people checking payments over a certain amount before they’re sent.
  3. Technology: This third layer of defence supports the people and processes within your business. For example, by using the technology in our mobile app, you can set the maximum amount that can be paid in a single transaction. It’s best to set this at a level that’s appropriate for your business needs.

Final thoughts

The end of the year can be a hectic period for businesses, with staff on leave and seasonal sales, not to mention the general challenges of a busy period. Fraudsters are aware of this too and aim to take advantage of it, so remember to do your research on any offers, comparing prices to similar goods and services where possible.

Help train your colleagues by sharing this article and our resources above. Establish processes to help spot any errors and use technology as your third layer of defence. 

Visit our Fraud hub to learn more about other security threats your business might face. Together, we’ll beat the fraudsters.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

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