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Protect yourself from these online retail scams

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are prime opportunities for online scams. Be sure to protect yourself.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner – and just as legitimate retailers are preparing their online stores and special offers to attract customers like you – fraudsters are also getting ready to cash-in on the year’s biggest shopping event.


Make sure you’re aware of the following shady tactics so that you don’t become a victim of an online shopping scam.



  1. Fake shopping website scam


How this scam works:

  • In these scams, fraudsters set up fake retail sites that appear legitimate and then advertise their ‘goods’ on social media and mainstream websites.
  • Victims buy goods but their orders are never delivered because the online store doesn’t actually exist and disappears in a matter of days.


What the scammers are after:

  • The scammer accepts payments with no intention of ever delivering the goods purchased.
  • The scammers also collect your personal details such as name, billing addresses and credit card details and use this information to commit fraudulent purchases using your credit card or to sell your credit card details on the dark web.


How to protect yourself:


It’s important to remember that these sites look very professional. They use online store templates that are easy to set up. It’s therefore important to know what to look for when you’re visiting a new online store. These are good indicators that the store is not legitimate:

  • The Contact Us section will not include any contact details, such as a physical address, phone number or email address. Instead, it will be an online contact form that you need to fill in.
  • It’s hard to find sales, returns and privacy policies, or they are unclear.
  • You get stuck on pages because the ‘back’ button is disabled.
  • You are not familiar with the site or a physical retail store connected to it.
  • You are asked for credit card details before you are ready to make a purchase, or you are asked for personal information multiple times.

Here are some tips to ensure you don’t fall victim to this scam:

  • Don’t shop on new sites for the first time during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales
  • If a new site does interest you, follow its Instagram page and visit the site regularly – without offering any personal information or making a purchase. If the site is still operating after a few months, it might be legitimate. You can check online by asking for referrals and recommendations.


  1. Formjacking scam


How this scam works:

Formjacking is when cybercriminals hack a real website and take over the functionality of the site’s form page or checkout pages of a website. This enables hackers to collect your sensitive financial information without you even realising that your data is being stolen.


What the scammers are after:

  • Formjacking is designed to collect all of your personal information, including your physical address, billing address and credit card information.
  • This information can then be used in a number of different ways, including credit card fraud and identity theft.


How to protect yourself:

Unfortunately, form jacking is discreet and doesn’t require any user action, which makes it an attractive option for cybercriminals.


The best way to protect yourself is to know what’s happening at all times with your accounts:

  • Check your bank statements regularly.
  • Register for MyUpdates for free, unlimited SMS or email alerts to monitor all your transactions so you can keep track of what’s happening on your accounts in real-time.
  • Call the Standard Bank Fraud centre if you detect any irregular activity.


  1. Overpayment online scams 


How this scam works:

Overpayment scams are designed to get you to ‘refund’ a scammer who has sent you too much money for an item that you are selling, usually via a website that lists used goods, through classified ads or on social media platforms.


The scammer will make a payment that is larger than the agreed-upon amount and then contact you and apologise for the error. They will request a refund of the excess amount and you will only discover that the original payment has been blocked, cancelled or has bounced after you have made a legitimate refund through their payment method of choice.


What the scammers are after:

  • Quite simply, this scam is only about money. Scammers are not after your credit card details or personal information.
  • They make money when you send them a refund thinking that they have paid you, when in fact they haven’t sent you any money.


How to protect yourself:

Unfortunately, it’s important to beware of anyone who overpays you because it may be a scam. To protect yourself:

  • Only turn goods over once payment has been verified by your bank.
  • Only make a refund once the funds have cleared in your account and you can verify this with your bank.

Make use of Standard Bank’s Escrow Service, which makes every buyer and seller trustworthy. If you’re a buyer, our Escrow service safeguards your funds in a trust until the seller delivers what was promised. If you’re the seller, you can also have peace of mind as the trade will only start when the buyer has






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