IT advice: How to avoid Black Friday scams

Incredible deals, a limited time to buy, coupled with more time being spent at home, means billions of pounds being spent online this Black Friday. It’s a cybercriminal’s idea of heaven.

Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals are ready and waiting to trick people with Black Friday cyber crime scams. They want people to believe they’ve found a great deal and must act now, only to find their Christmas present never turns up and their bank account emptied.

Criminals are also using the cover of Christmas to roll out data harvesting scams to prompt people to provide details through phishing emails advertising cheap goods. Black Friday scams can be as devasting for businesses as they are for consumers.

Now, we love Black Friday just like anyone else. So, we’ve pulled together a few top tips for safe shopping/selling.

Scam Alert

Avoid Black Friday cyber crime. Check the web address

It is common for cyber criminals to create a remarkably similar website domain name to the business they are trying to impersonate. During Amazon Prime Day last month, hundreds of sites were found to have replicated the Amazon website to trick buyers. What’s more, the emails were sent impersonating Amazon claiming that orders had been cancelled. This led users to a so-called Amazon website where they were asked to fill out a form using personal and financial details.

Therefore, double, triple check you have the right website. Things to look out for are where hyphens have been added or a letter has been repeated. At first glance, these aren’t easy to spot.

Also, check for the padlock symbol next to the web address. This shows whether a site is secure.

Pause before you click a link

Whatever you do, don’t click that link. Many Black Friday scams involve emails offering a fantastic bargain and huge discounts can be enticing, but always pause before you click. Phishing emails can appear just like the real thing, but if you check the email address that it originated from there are usually some signs. Spelling and grammar mistakes within the email are also a red flag, as is an overly pushy sense of urgency or a discount that seems too good to be true.

Social media scams

Cybercriminals are everywhere and they’re increasingly using social media networks to commit their crime. For example, in 2018, cybercriminals convinced WhatsApp users into believing they had been awarded a 99% discount at major retailers.

Our advice to consumers

  • Use your own Wi-Fi network to shop or check your bank account rather than a public connection that’s far more vulnerable to cybercriminals
  • If you think an email or website feels ‘off’ it usually is. Check directly with the retailer if there is such an offer.
  • Shop with a credit card rather than debit card as they offer additional payment security

Our advice to businesses

It’s been tough for all retailers this year – don’t let Black Friday cyber crime add to the drama. You may be too distracted to notice attacks happening. Unfortunately, hackers can target your website, leading online shoppers (your customers) to malicious cloned websites that steal their personal and payment information.

Our best IT advice would be to implement cybersecurity measures to protect your website from cyber attackers.

You may also choose to educate your existing customers ahead of Black Friday to let them know how to spot social engineering scams and remind them of what you’ll never ask them for. Also, let your customers know what you’re doing to combat threats. Your transparency will build trust in your brand.

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If you would like help with your cybersecurity strategy, the specialist team at Agile Technical Solutions is happy to help. Please feel free to get in touch.