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Nearly a third of shoppers will be vulnerable to fraud this Black Friday

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Thirty-one per cent of shoppers are likely to take risks that make them vulnerable to fraudsters this Black Friday, as online fraud figures skyrocket.

A new study by the Financial Fraud Agency (FFA) has found that nearly a third of shoppers are likely to visit unfamiliar sites in search of a bargain. They have warned shoppers to be extra vigilant of potentially fraudulent websites during the event.

In the first six months of 2016 online fraud costs reached £156 million, up 46 per cent on this time last year. 

Fraudsters use fake adverts on social media and internet searches promoting massive discounts on desirable goods. A projected 15 million shoppers are expected to follow these links and endanger themselves by entering their bank details, which the criminals will then use to go on their own shopping spree.

The campaign, called “take five” calls for shoppers to not succumb to the pressure of limited deals and check the authenticity of the website before making a purchase.

Its survey found that 22 per cent of shoppers never check the authenticity of an online retail platform and 19 per cent would click on an unsolicited email which promised a good deal.

Backed by major banks and financial service providers, the campaign also found that 36 per cent of shoppers admit their habits change when presented with a bargain and nearly a quarter say they become less vigilant for fear of missing out on deals.

"Shopping on the internet is easy, convenient and generally very safe, but it can also provide an opportunity for criminals to commit financial fraud from a distance,” FFA UK director Katy Worobec said.

"Fraudsters will use a variety of convincing tactics to entice unsuspecting shoppers to give over their financial details - from unsolicited emails to fake retail websites and bogus ads.

"Shoppers, wanting to take advantage of these too-good-to-be-true deals, are putting themselves at risk by not taking the time to take five and protect themselves."

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