Be aware of common scams on Black Friday!

Last updated: 2023/11/22
Cybersecurity6 minutes

With the popularity of online shopping, Black Friday is no longer just a sale at the mall, but has grown into a dual online and offline frenzy. While Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the special deals retailers offer at the start of the shopping season, it's also rife with frauds and scams you need to avoid.

That's because in addition to shopping enthusiasts, there's an excited group of people eagerly awaiting Black Friday: cybercriminals.

Adobe forecasts a record $221.8 billion will be spent online this holiday season (Nov-Dec). 62% of the survey respondents said deals are important for their shopping. Cyber Week, starting from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, will grow about 5.4% YoY and draw in $37.2 billion —that’s 16.8% of the season’s revenue (on par with last year’s share).  Black Friday $9.6 billion (5.7% YoY) and Thanksgiving $5.6 billion (5.5% YoY). 71% of survey respondents said they will shop online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With such a large turnover, it's even more important to be wary of the scams you'll encounter when shopping on Black Friday. Here are some common types of scams that will pop up on Black Friday.

Fake online stores and websites

Hackers create the same websites as popular online shops, these fake websites are basically well-designed websites that can be disguised as legitimate sources. Often monitoring all your keystrokes, including passwords, payment information, etc. As a way to trick you into sending them money or entering your financial and personal details. Rather than providing services, information or anything else you would expect, fake websites are a way for cybercriminals to conduct deception. Fraudsters will use logos and branding stolen from real companies to create the site. An exact replica of the original site may even be created.

How to do?

So when you're shopping online on Black Friday, take a moment to make sure you're visiting a legitimate site before you buy. Check for spelling errors in URLs and be wary of sites without SSL certificates (look for "HTTPS" in the address bar). Don't enter payment information on unsecured sites, and if you're not sure about a particular site, contact the company's customer service before making a purchase.

Fake order confirmation

Scammers pose as popular retailers and send victims fake emails or phone messages claiming there is a problem with your order. Luring you to give out personal information or credit card details Sometimes people are busy shopping and have to deal with a lot of messages about order confirmations. If you accidentally click on a link contained therein, you will be taken to a fake website that can steal your passwords, payment information and more.

How to do?

If you receive an unexpected order confirmation but don't remember ordering the item or shopping at the shop, do not click on any of the links. If it appears to be a reputable seller, contact the retailer directly to confirm your purchase and delivery date. Also check the status of your order by checking the email message, checking the sender's name to make sure it's from the company's official domain, or logging into your account directly.

Fake coupons and vouchers

Coupon and voucher scams are a cunning tactic used by cybercriminals who devise fake coupon and voucher codes designed to mimic coupons and discount codes offered by trusted companies. These fake offers are distributed across social media, websites and even your email inbox when you're keen to get the best value for money. Not only is there a chance that the coupon code won't work, but your contact information could be sold to a third party. In the worst case scenario, your device is infected with malware from the malicious ads.

How to do?

To avoid these risks, it's best to only use coupons from trusted websites, preferably directly from retailers. Always read the terms and conditions of each coupon before use to ensure that the one used is valid, and always remember to be careful when providing your personal information online.

Fake delivery notifications

Bad guys posing as trusted couriers such as FedEx or United Parcel (UPS) alert you about fake parcel deliveries by clicking on a link requesting to accept a delivery or by using a text message scam, which informs you that a parcel is waiting for you, and even provides a handy link to track your shipment, which may contain a link asking you to update your personal information, and if you click on the link, you'll be taken to a website that not only asks for your personal details, but may also install malware on your device.

How to do?

Always check the delivery directly with the shipper. Do not click on links in unsolicited text messages or emails. Find your original email and use the tracking number included on the sender's official website.

Fake charity and donation scams

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, scammers take advantage of people's willingness to help and give. They create fake websites or donation pages that mimic the look of legitimate charities, designing new names that sound eerily similar to existing charities. They then solicit donations on the fake platforms, and people donate without first delving into the charity, and those donations never reach the legitimate charity.

How to do?

In order not to fall for charity scams, it's best to only donate to reputable charities that you have a familiar and trustworthy history with. If you come across a charity you are unsure about, take the time to thoroughly research it before donating. Additionally, make sure you are vigilant and remain cautious when you come across unsolicited emails or social media posts asking for donations, especially during the holiday season. You can also contact the charity directly and ask how your donation will be used. Legitimate charities will be able to provide you with clear answers as to how your money will be used.

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