NORTH Yorkshire Police are urging online shoppers to stay safe as one of the biggest internet shopping days of the year approaches.

‘Black Friday’ is a large shopping event that originated in the United States, and takes place on the day after Thanksgiving - Friday, November 29 this year.

Based on previous fraud data, it is likely that there will be an increase in online shopping and auction fraud in the run up to Christmas, particularly around Black Friday and ‘Cyber Monday’, which follows on December 2.

Due to the significant numbers of people searching online for a good deal, fraudsters will be particularly looking to target victims.

Products typically involved in online fraud are electronics, clothing and tickets for flights and events.

Common complaints involve buyers receiving goods late, or not at all, or receiving goods that are either less valuable than those advertised or significantly different from the original description.

Andy Fox, financial abuse safeguarding officer at North Yorkshire Police, said: “If you are a victim of shopping or auction fraud, the most immediate problem is that you have no real prospect of returning the goods or having your money refunded.

“After this, there is a risk that your identity details could be compromised.

“Fraudsters could steal your identity and use it to access your personal finances or obtain goods or finance from alternative sources.

“That’s why it’s so important to take steps to protect yourself when you’re shopping online.”

The police have issued advice to help residents protect themselves.

They warn against clicking on links in an unexpected email or text as the volume of online shopping-related phishing emails increases significantly during the Christmas period.

Anyone who believes they have fallen victim to fraud should report it to Action Fraud online, or by phone on 0300-1232040.

Citizens Advice also offer a consumer service by phone on 08454-040506.