You are at risk of handing over your personal details to scammers in the name of Black Friday deals. Here’s why;
Payday loan scams aren’t the only scams you should be wary of. There are hundreds of malicious websites and apps out there currently looking to steal your personal details (name, phone no. and address) as well as credit card information. These apps and websites copy well-known brands in an effort to trick unsuspecting Black Friday shoppers to hand over sensitive personal information.
Experts have warned prospective shoppers to be wary of such websites as they search for “once a year” deals that offer scammers a perfect opportunity to rip off shoppers. According to experts, Cyber Monday and Black Friday are great times for shoppers to bag incredible deals; however, they also give scammers an opportunity to steal personal data.
During the Black Friday weekend, Britons are expected to spend approximately £8 billion. This puts many UK shoppers at great risk of scams and fraud.
According to cybersecurity experts RiskIQ, there are hundreds of malicious websites and apps already looking to take advantage of Black Friday to harvest credit card information and personal data. The dodgy apps and websites are luring shoppers by offering time-limited deals and incredibly low prices that are impossible to ignore.
It’s worth noting that many retailers use a similar method to boost sales during this period. It is therefore understandable why many customers fall prey to scam sites especially during periods characterised by great offers and customers who are in a rush to take advantage of the deals.
RiskIQ has found over 5.5% of 4,331 Black Friday related applications to be malicious – containing adware, credit card no. skimmers, malware, adware as well as mobile ransomware. According to the RiskIQ report on the matter, five leading brands in the UK anonymised in the report had their terms in descriptions and titles of over 6,600 blacklisted applications.
What’s more; the top ten most visited UK brands had approximately 17 blacklisted applications with their terms as well as the words Black Friday. In simple terms, scammers are creating dubious apps and sites using branding from legitimate brands in an effort to convince unsuspecting customers to download the dodgy applications and/or visit scam sites before their personal information is stolen.
According to cybersecurity firm McAfee, many British shoppers have already fallen for these scammers. Approximately 20% have already bought something
from a Cyber Monday and Black Friday website they didn’t recognise out of the fear of missing out on deals. In 2017, 40% of Black Friday transactions conducted online took place via mobile phones according to RiskIQ. During the same period last year, malware threats to consumers doubled while ransomware threats increased by 35% according to McAfee research.
Just recently, Amazon shoppers received a warning about Black Friday scams circulating on social media platform, WhatsApp. The scam purported to offer unbelievable discounts on product purchases.
Luckily for shoppers, there are steps you can follow to protect yourself and still take advantage of Black Friday deals among other similar deals.
According to Raj Samani, fellow and chief scientist at McAfee, bargain hunters must think before handing over personal information to anyone in the name of deals. This sentiments which were made in a recent interview with The Sun highlight the importance of thinking twice before “jumping on” online deals.
According to Samani, never rush to get incredible deals. Take some time to confirm you are dealing with a legitimate application or site first before you proceed and submit personal information. Samani insists on the importance of consumers approaching deals with skepticism. If a deal is too good, it is probably a scam until proven otherwise. Consumers must think before clicking on discount links or installing apps to get great deals.
The same applies when responding to messages and emails received via social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. If you find great deals in your inbox, check out where those deals are originating from directly as opposed to clicking on such links.
More to be wary of than scammers
An investigation conducted by Which reveals there is more for consumers to be worried about than Cyber Monday and Black Friday scams. According to Which some Black Friday products sell for less during other times in the year. In a nutshell, Black Friday may not be the best time to buy everything at a great price as many consumers have been lead to think.