Black Friday 2020: How to stay safe while shopping online and on the high street


IT’S just a few weeks away and Brits are gearing up for Black Friday 2020.

The event, which is held every year, sees thousands of items from electrical goods to clothes and bags slashed with massive discounts.

Thousands of shops slash their prices with significant discounts on Black Friday

It started off in America and has now become one of the biggest shopping events of the year around the world.

It takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving, which means this year it’s happening on November 27.

But as the number of cases of coronavirus stands at more than 20,000, people may be feeling nervous about heading to the shops to stock up on Christmas presents.

Meanwhile online shoppers need to make sure they are also being vigilant where they are inputting their card details as the number of fraud cases have shot up during the pandemic.

We’ve rounded up the best ways for shoppers to stay safe – online and on the streets – while snapping up their goods on Black Friday.

Shopping on the high street

Since non-essential shops reopened on June 15, we’ve had to get used to several changes with how we buy goods.

Changing rooms are closed, hand sanitisers are in shops and stores are capping the number of people who are allowed inside at once.

But we’ve created some guidelines about how to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping.

  • Check what time stores open. Several shops have changed their opening and closing time during the pandemic so make sure you check the times before leaving your house.
  • Get there early. Each branch usually has only a few of the best headline deals, so be first in line. There might be restrictions in place too around queueing, so make sure you check those too.
  • Make sure you’re social distancing, have hand sanitiser and a face mask. All shops require you wear a face mask now for your own safety. To be extra careful, stay two metres from others while we’re queueing outside the shop and one metre when inside.
  • Make a list. The longer you spend browsing is time wasted snapping up other deals. Go in, buy what you want, head out.
  • Dress for comfort. Wear trainers for getting from shop to shop. Shops will have the heating on full blast so avoid heavy coats and sweaters.
  • Stay safe. Keep your purse in a secure zipped compartment inside your coat or bag, or attach a small bell which you can hear if someone tries to pinch it.
  • Don’t try anything on. When buying clothes, check any previous items you may have got from the same store to get an idea of what size you are. Changing rooms are closed so you have to buy it and then try them on at home.
  • Keep your receipts. You may get caught up in the excitement and end up buying more than you need. Keeping the receipts means you can do returns.
  • Check the store return policy. Several shops extended their store returns policy during the pandemic, however, they have now returned to their pre pandemic policy, so make sure you can return items before buying.

Shopping online

There are many savvy ways to make sure you’re prepared for the Black Friday sales.

Doing things like making a list of the items you’re interested in and setting up accounts at the sites you want to shop with, filling your basket the day before and make a note of stock levels to ensure you’ve had a raring start.

Shopping at less anti social hours, such as between 3am and 5am, is a cleverer way to get past the initial website crashes at midnight.

Most shoppers will log on at midnight – but that means sites can crash. Set your alarm for early bird bargains between 3am and 5am when fewer people are browsing.

You could also scour sites such as myvouchercodes, and HotUkDeals for bonus discounts and look for free delivery vouchers. Shop with Topcashback and Quidco too to get cash back while you surf.

But the most important thing is to make sure you protect yourself from fraudsters.

You can do this by:

  • Sticking with what you know. Stick to popular retailers such as Amazon, Currys and Argos.
    If you are looking at less well known sites, trust your instinct. Do not shop anywhere that looks unprofessional, has odd pop-ups or is selling items at prices that seem too good to be true.
  • Not giving away too much. Do not reveal any unnecessary personal information. All you need to give is your name, address and payment details.
    Avoid clicking on links on emails. Phishing scams can stem from messages that seem legitimate, but send you to bogus sites that collect information to steal your identity.
    Instead, type the URL directly into the search bar.
  • Logging on. Use your computer instead of your mobile. Most phones do not have anti-virus software, and it is harder to tell whether shortened URLs used on social media are legitimate.
    Also, wait until you are home and on a password-protected wifi network as public hotspots do not protect your data. Regularly update your browser to boost your security.
  • Changing your passwords. Using the same password for every retailer you sign up for may seem like the easy option but it makes hackers’ job easy.
    Use complicated passwords, make them different for each site and change them every few months.
  • Checking the URL. Check that the website you are using has HTTPS in the URL, as the “S” indicates that the way your information is being sent is secure. Another sign of a secure site is a small padlock on the screen.

Of course, if you miss out on Black Friday there’s always Cyber Monday, where stores cut prices even more.

Here’s where to find the best Black Friday fragrance deals on brands such as Versace and Gucci.

When shopping for latops, we’ve created a guide of what to look out for.

And beauty lovers will be pleased to hear that Space NK is also taking part in Black Friday this year.

Did you miss our previous article…