Black Friday Scams Alert: Worst Black Friday Shopping Scams

Black Friday Scams Alert: Worst Black friday Shopping Scams, How to Prevent
On Black Friday, shoppers must be wary as scammers prepare to capitalize on the shopping frenzy.

Black Friday is almost here, and many of us are ready to run to empty the store shelves. Black Friday originated in the United States in the 1950s and took place the day after Thanksgiving. Today, expensive appliances, televisions, designer clothes, and toys are sold at significant discounts. Even though classic stores are open to the public again, 55 percent of shoppers this year prefer to shop online. So before you embark on your holiday shopping, let me give you a few tips to save your finances from fraud. In a few short weeks, cybersecurity researchers noticed that more than 56% of Black Friday-related emails were aimed at scamming shoppers. Here’s a look at the most common types of Black Friday scams and tips on protecting yourself from these attacks.

Types of Black Friday Cyber Scams That Can Ruin Your Shopping Experience

Fake online stores

Hundreds of online stores pop up daily, some of which are designed to scam you for money. According to BBB, fake online stores can provide poor-quality products or services. Victims sometimes won’t even receive the products they paid for. Legitimate online stores have standard return and dispute procedures, while fake online stores do not. You won’t even be able to contact the sellers. Even worse, scammers can sell the victim’s personal information on the Darknet.

Fake online store example
This discount seems very attractive, but there is no such thing on the official website.

“Missed Delivery”

High prices and slow delivery times may encourage you to click on a link received from a shipping company. But is the link actual? According to CheckPoint, about 17% of the malicious files distributed this month came from shipping and delivery scams. So if you’re a buyer, beware of messages that purport to come from DHL, UPS, Royal Mail, and other delivery services. Check the content of the letters carefully, and avoid calling the phone numbers listed in the messages.

Black Friday phishing scams

Let’s review another popular type of Black Friday scams you need to know. Beware of phishing emails that purport to come from major retailers. According to researchers at security firm Avanan, hackers sent fake Amazon “order notification” emails. The emails looked like regular order confirmations, but the orders were counterfeit. If the recipient called the number in the email and tried to confirm the order, the scammers first did not answer the phone and then called back and asked for a credit card number. This is how they lured the information out of the victims. Be careful not to run into Black Friday phishing scams ever.

Example of a fake order on Amazon
Pay attention to the sender’s address.

Credit card skimming

E-skimming occurs when an online store’s website is compromised. Hackers attack an online store and install malware that allows the website to collect customer data. This is usually credit card numbers or other financial information when purchasing. Unfortunately, the average user cannot spot an attempt at electronic skimming. The only indication may be that the website visually looks “off.” To prevent data leakage, shop only through your home or cellular network. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, where payments can be intercepted. Also, if you are not traveling, you can turn off international purchases on all credit cards.

PayPal requests

A newly reported PayPal scam involves an official email requesting funds for a product or service. If the recipient believes it is a scam, the message offers a means to cancel the payment request. But to cancel the request, the recipient must call the fraudulent number listed. So if you receive PayPal emails that aren’t related to a known existing purchase, don’t call back. They’re scammers.

WhatsApp voucher scams and competitions

Scammers can send messages via WhatsApp about free shopping vouchers or generous contests that could help them win big prizes. This type of Black Friday scams encourages people to share personal information. Be careful about unwanted WhatsApp messages, especially offers, discounts, and giveaways.

Fraudulent message on WhatsApp
Example of a fraudulent message on WhatsApp

Fake Amazon reviews

Thousands of people buy the most popular consumer products on Amazon, from kitchen gadgets to accessories to laptops. As a result, most of us rely on reviews before buying something. However, more than 60% of all reviews on the site have been classified as fake. Look out for lazy reviews containing only one or two words, products with many one- or five-star reviews, review reviewer profiles, and reviews marked “verified purchase.”

Social Engineering

Sometimes scammers try to give you a false sense of urgency. Beware of emails, advertisements, and other enticing messages that push you to make a decision right here and now without giving you a chance to think. Cybercriminals take advantage of people’s fear, scarcity, and impulsive behavior. In most cases, the item someone is trying to sell you doesn’t need at all. So take a step back, think twice, and decide whether you need the item.

Some Red Flags to Avoid Black Friday Scams

Pay attention to these points when shopping online. If you notice any of these conditions, please be especially careful!

  • It’s too good to be true
  • The product page is filled with many 5-star (but seemingly irrelevant) customer reviews.
  • The seller insists on paying by bank transfer or cash via apps and refuses to accept credit cards.
  • The seller asks you for unusually detailed personal information.
  • There are typos and questionable wording on the page.
  • The website address of the online store looks strange.
  • There is no valid contact information or address on the site.

What to do if I am a victim of a scam?

If you are a victim of an Internet shopping scam, take immediate action and report it to law enforcement. This can help you recover your lost funds. However, crime reports are also used for investigative and intelligence purposes, so if no one says anything, the authorities can’t take action against cybercriminals. You should also change the PIN codes of your cards and set a minimum card limit for online payments or disable this feature altogether.

How to Avoid Black Friday Scams and Secure Your Shopping

  • Buy only from legitimate online stores/trading platforms.
  • Avoid direct purchases on social media.
  • Pay attention to reviews and comments.
  • Use reliable payment methods. Use standard payment processing networks such as Visa and Mastercard for secure transactions.
  • Don’t use your primary card to pay.
  • Avoid unusual payment methods. Be careful if a merchant insists on payment methods other than those listed on the store’s website or continues to take you away from the online marketplace, such as the messenger.
  • Never click on links or attachments from unknown sources.

Now you understand how to make the shopping process safer this holiday season. So, this Black Friday, lock in the best deals but proceed with caution and strategic awareness.

By Stephanie Adlam

I write about how to make your Internet browsing comfortable and safe. The modern digital world is worth being a part of, and I want to show you how to do it properly.

View all of Stephanie Adlam's posts.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *