More and more people are shopping online. With the great deals available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up soon, scammers are using the opportunity to lure consumers into giving away their private information (including credit card details) on fake platforms online.
Common Black Friday scams involve luring shoppers away from genuine sites and drawing them toward phishing shopping apps, or cloned websites that seem to offer significantly lower discounts. Other scams include offering shoppers digital shopping cards or enticing them to participate in pyramid schemes such as 'secret sister' gift exchanges.
Criminals have been planning for the big sales days. FortiGuard Labs reported having found more than 20 new counterfeit websites created by criminals by the end of October. Many so closely mimic the look, feel and branding of reputable retailers that it’s becoming harder for shoppers to spot the differences. Retailers ranging from Amazon to Coleman (which sells camping gear) have been targeted with these “cloned” sites. The URLs used are slightly different to the real domain and they use imagery and branding stolen from the real brands.
A few signs shoppers should look out for include:
» Numerous spelling and grammatical errors and inconsistencies in content
» Social media buttons that don’t go anywhere
» Website URLs that have been slightly altered (e.g. instead of acmeclothing.com, hackers might use acmeclothing.shop or acme_clothing.com)
Be cautious when making online purchases and when in doubt, contact the retailer directly (not through the website on which you’re considering transacting) to verify the deal before purchase.
These scams are not limited to desktop shopping – be wary of being prompted to download new Black Friday apps on your mobile devices too.
To stay safe on big sales days and always, invest in a strong cybersecurity solution to protect all the devices you use to shop online and enable two-factor authentication on your banking apps and cards.
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