Whether you’re a light or heavy shopper, you must be excited for the upcoming holiday: Black Friday. You can score the best deals — from home decor, toys, and gadgets, to other gifts. However, this holiday shopping season also attracts scammers who are just waiting for you to fall for their tricks, including phishing. In 2019 alone, a report from McAfee showed that 41% of Americans became victims of phishing scams.
Want to know more about these Black Friday phishing scams and how you can avoid them? Keep reading!
How Do Black Friday Phishing Scams Work?
While you’re busy finding the best deals for your favorite products, scammers are applying old yet effective tactics like phishing. Rather than being contacted by a fake website, You’ll receive an email or text message from a huge retailer like Amazon, confirming your purchase. However, you don’t remember creating that order. While the product is not specified, the email or text message includes a link that allows you to check the order details.
Out of curiosity, you open the link, only to be directed to a fake site that will collect your personal information. You’ll even be asked to provide your bank information. Note that these fraudsters will try to make the sites look legitimate by copying retailers’ logos and images.
Sometimes, the link also contains malware, and you’ll end up with an infected or damaged device. Other scammers will trick you into completing a survey and get fake freebies or gift cards in return.
Signs of Phishing Scams on Black Friday
To help ensure safe Black Friday shopping, you should be able to identify the following red flags:
- Basic greetings like Dear Customer or Mr. and Ms. are used rather than your name.
- The email address appears legitimate. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice some misspellings and extra characters.
- The email or text message includes attractive offers, like freebies, coupons, and even a refund.
- You are forced to decide right away and click the link given, so you won’t miss the biggest deals that are all made up.
- You will be asked to disclose your personal and payment information.
- They will claim that there’s a problem with your account or payment details. This is to cause panic and prompt you to share your details and fix that imaginary problem.
- You will notice errors in spelling, grammar, and sentence construction throughout the email and even in the subject line.
How To Avoid Black Friday Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are rampant on Black Friday. So, before they turn your shopping experience into a nightmare, stop them with these steps:
- Do not get swayed by unrealistic deals — especially those with freebies.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links attached in emails. Hover over them, and check the details carefully.
- Contact the business or store on your own instead of listening to a random texter or caller’s instructions. Do not respond to unsolicited emails.
- Avoid ads and pop-ups. These might take you to a fake site that aims to collect your sensitive information or infect your computer.
- Use your credit cards for payments.
- Secure different and unique passwords for your online accounts. It’s recommended to maximize the multifactor authentication feature to help keep you safe from hackers.
- Use security software to protect your computer. It’s also best to set automatic updates.
- Do your research before making any purchase. As a responsible shopper, you should read online reviews and look for possible complaints.
- Do not share your bank details and other personal information either through email or phone call. Legitimate sellers won’t send you a random email asking you for such crucial information.
- Keep track of your accounts. Create alerts, so you’ll know immediately if there’s any suspicious activity.
- Report phishing scams to the Federal Trade Commission.
Black Friday Phishing Scams: Protect Yourself With Social Catfish
Black Friday is one of the most exciting and busiest shopping days for all shoppers. However, con artists are also just out there ready to commit phishing scams. So, if you think you’re talking to a suspicious seller, use our reverse search technology to ensure a safe shopping experience!