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According to research statistics Link opens in a new window, Brits plan on spending a whopping £4.8 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday buys this year - ching ching.

With the big day fast approaching, it’s important to recognise the real deals from the Black Friday scams and keep your current account Link opens in a new window safe and secure while shopping. It was reported last year that attempted payment frauds were 385% higher Link opens in a new window than they were in 2019. Here are some tips and tricks on how to avoid Black Friday scams Link opens in a new window while making sure you’re getting the best deals…

Keep a keen eye out

Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping your eyes on the prize! To kick things off, monitoring some of the stores on your shopping list can come in handy by the time sale season arrives. Though it may be irritating to have your inbox constantly clogged up with retail newsletters, it could save you a great deal of money when it comes to Black Friday. Retail newsletters are often laden with discount codes, shopping advice and sale coupons, so it’s definitely worth subscribing to your favourite retailers.

It’s also worth using social media to find the best deals - following established retail stores and websites on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram could see your notifications filling up with satisfying sale prices that you can trust. Simply keeping your eyes peeled should be your first port of call.

Stay safe online

Amongst a stream of shipping delays, supply chain issues and an ever-present panic surrounding the pandemic, there seems to be a certain level of stress surrounding sale season this year. Though it’s true that Black Friday does usually boast a number of fantastic deals, we must recognise that if a deal is too good to be true, then it most probably is. It’s vital to protect yourself when shopping Link opens in a new window, particularly online.

Before going ahead and making a purchase that pops up online, do some proper digging to make sure it’s a legitimate deal. Remember that everything can be professionally cloned. So, even if a website looks to be trustworthy, make sure you double check its reputability before clicking any links and be extra wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails. If you’re unsure then it’s a good general rule to search for the website's reviews before you proceed with a purchase and if you do decide to go ahead, carry out the transaction by going to the site via a search engine. Also, remember to look for the padlock symbol in the address bar, if you don’t see it, don’t enter your card details.

When making Black Friday purchases online, be extra wary of texts about a missed delivery with a link to pay fees. These types of scams are currently extremely common. Check the text is genuine by contacting the delivery company directly before providing any payment details.

It’s also worth being aware of Section 75 laws Link opens in a new window, which is a way to make a claim against your credit card provider when a company that you’ve paid using your card has let you down. Know your rights and contact the right people, especially if a sale turns out to be a scam!

Get proof of the price

Before you get swept up in the Black Friday sale surge, it’s really important that you check to see if the price you’re paying is actually a decent deal. Whether it’s online or in-store, prices can vary significantly, even from the same retailer. So, it’s worth having a snoop around before you step out of the door. Carrying out your own cash comparison on some of your favourite shops can help reveal the real deals.

Using websites such as Price Spy Link opens in a new window and DealFinder Link opens in a new window will help set you apart from the panic buyers and is a great way to get your hands on the best prices possible. Doing a little homework before taking on Black Friday could really save you a great deal of dough.

Budget for the bigger picture

Everyone starts off Black Friday with the best intentions, but it can be incredibly easy to get distracted by endless deals and end up overbuying - so it’s time to think about the purpose of the purchase, not the price. Before starting your shopping spree, make sure you write a list of exactly what you need this year, instead of going in blind and coming out broke.

Take control of your finances and opt for a mobile banking app – like the Virgin Money mobile banking app Link opens in a new window, for example, that allows you to set budgets easily, as well as create alerts that can help you refrain from overspending on Black Friday. The fear of missing out on a ‘must-have’ deal can cause shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get carried away: use lists and an app to steer you away from making unnecessary purchases.

Reap the rewards

If you love to shop ‘til you drop and are partial to a juicy deal, then why not make sure you’re getting a little prize with every purchase? It’s easy to get cashback and rewards once you’ve done your research. To start, you can have a look into your favourite stores and see if they offer a rewards card of some sort.

You can also get cashback from your bank. Virgin Money Credit Card customers can pick up cashback Link opens in a new window on everyday purchases through their credit card app, not to mention the free Virgin Red rewards club that is available to everyone, whether you bank with us or don't, that allows you to earn and spend points across the Virgin Family and beyond. Both are an easy way to pick up a little extra through everyday shopping - perfect for putting aside for Black Friday and Christmas.

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