Black Friday scams and six ways to protect yourself

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner and that means one thing – DEALS, DEALS, DEALS! It’s interesting how the trend has shifted within the last few years, from long overnight queues at shopping centers with people trying to get “the deal of a lifetime” to many choosing to shop online from the comfort of their home or office.

But this means that scammers will be looking to take advantage of the biggest shopping event of the year by tricking unwitting shoppers.

Luckily, by taking a few precautions, you can avoid becoming a victim. Here’s our checklist of signs to look out for that ‘scream’ high-alert scam and top tips to protect yourself and enjoy the deals on one of the year’s most popular shopping events.

  1. Never click on a suspicious link – scammers might target you with emails with promotional links, appearing to be from a legitimate retailer. This is an attempt to get your attention and trick you to click on a link which carries malicious malware. If the links look suspicious to you or you’re not sure of the source of the email, do not open them. Better to go directly to the retailer’s website to verify the deal.
  2. Beware of phishing emails – phishing emails are designed to look like they were sent from a legitimate company, such as your bank or the retailer you shop frequently from. They’ll ask to verify your details. You can read more about avoiding email scams here.
  3. Make sure the site is secure – A key rule when shopping online is to check that you’re on an encrypted page, meaning that you should check that the page’s URL starts with “https”. If you don’t see it, the site you’re on may not be legit.
  4. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi – Cyber criminals know how to thwart unsecured Wi-Fi to gain access to the information you send over it. So, it’s better you eat into some of your data to make sure your financial information is secure, than logging onto a public Wi-Fi to shop the latest bargain. Learn more about the dangers of public Wi-Fi here.
  5. Use a credit card or shop through Apple Pay or Android Pay – Credit cards offer consumer protection if things go wrong with a purchase. Mobile payments solutions such as Apple and Android Pay are also good to use because they combine biometrics with other digital safeguards, making sure your details are secure.
  6. Use complex passwords for online retailers – Having strong, secure passwords is essential to keeping your online identity and accounts safe from hackers. Check out our guide for creating a strong password.

These security practices should be followed throughout the year but it’s essential to put them into practice during the holiday shopping season when cyber criminals increase their attempts to steal your online credentials or infect your system with malware.

It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of searching online for the best deal or trying to fill your shopping list at the last minute. So, be careful and use our tips to protect yourself from scam this shopping season.

Let us know how you stay safe and secure online while shopping by posting a comment below or tweeting to us @JustAskGemalto.