Black Friday is coming up soon and that means it’s time to go bargain hunting! But with so many deals and new products, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement and forget about staying safe from online shopping scams. To help you find the best bargains this Black Friday, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for protecting yourself from email phishing scams, fake online stores, and malicious phone messages.
What are the best ways to avoid getting scammed on Black Friday?
The best way to shop safely is to learn about all the different types of online scams you may encounter. Here are the main scams that you should watch out for:
- Order confirmation/delivery notification scams – this type of scam will pop up in your email inbox looking like a confirmation/delivery notification message for a purchase (you obviously haven’t made) but it won’t actually give you any details about the order or any of your details. The email will usually encourage you to click some kind of link which can collect your personal information to use for fraudulent activity. The scammer behind this scheme may be impersonating a brand that you’ve shopped from or it may be a brand you’ve never engaged with, either way, you should delete the email and report it for phishing.
- Fake invoices – if you get an email or phone message claiming that you’re owing money and asking you to enter bank details or any other information, you should go straight to your personal account for the respective brand to check if this is the case. This is the surest way to see if you’re the target of a scam.
- Phishing emails – this kind of scam is so common that everyone has received phishing emails at some point. These dodgy emails usually look very suspicious, spammy, and unprofessional. Phishing emails count on you to click on links and give personal details to either spread malware or steal your identity or money.
- Billing error scams – this scam could be through email or text message informing you that your card details are incorrect and you should re-enter them, this is most likely a scam. When you’re making a purchase, incorrect bank details won’t let you proceed any further with the check out so it’s very unlikely that you would get a billing error notification post-purchase.
- Fake online stores – if you visit a website and products are extremely cheap, there are many reviews that are too good to be true, unusual payment methods, no valid contact information, and they’re asking for very detailed personal information, this is probably a fake store!
- E-skimming – when shopping online at a compromised website, scammers could potentially steal your payment information through the malicious code they’ve embedded on the site. You can protect yourself by not saving credit card information on websites, using third-party payment methods like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay, and avoiding using public Wi-Fi to shop online.
What should you do if you’ve been scammed?
If you’ve noticed unauthorised purchases from your bank account after you’ve done some online shopping or just in general, your banking information has most likely been leaked to a scammer. You should immediately contact your bank to cancel your card and reissue a new one. If you have online banking access to your account, transfer the remaining funds out of it as soon as possible to avoid further unauthorised spending.
So to avoid falling victim to any of the online shopping scams that we mentioned, we recommend consumers be cautious with visiting websites and engaging with emails or text messages. For retail businesses, it’s equally important to stay aware of scams that may be impersonating your brand and targeting your customers. If you need any assistance with protecting your brand from digital threats, speak to the FraudWatch team. We specialise in offering solutions to fight phishing scams, social media impersonation, fake mobile apps, and brand abuse.