As the holiday season swings into full gear, shoppers are expected to flock to early online shopping deals. The great thing is that you don’t need to worry as much about getting trampled trying to get a good deal, but you do will need to be careful and protect yourself from the increasing number of online scams. Cyber criminals are anticipating an increase in online shopping during this year's Black Friday/Cyber Monday and will be looking to take advantage of the unwary.
Here are some tips to help keep your money and your personal information safe, while scoring the best deals out there.
- Don’t click on any links from any email address that you don’t recognize. Don’t just look at the name provided, that can be spoofed but look at the actual email address. It is highly unlikely the real Target Black Friday shopping deals are going to be sent out from email@example.com. Go to the actual company website to check your deals instead. Scammers often send emails with links that redirect you to phishing sites or contain malware downloads.
Only click on links or open downloads from email addresses you know and trust.
2. Don’t fall for a deal that is too good to be true because it probably is. If you see Playstation 4s for sale for $79 you are not getting a screaming deal, you are getting scammed. You’re either going to get a counterfeit piece of junk or you’re going to get your money/credit card information stolen.
There will be some great deals this Black Friday, but stick with the realistic ones.
3. Check the domains of sites you visit. Scammers will use easy to overlook typos in the domain to get you to similar looking counterfeit stores or look-alike phishing pages. Be vigilant checking these even if they are not related to Black Friday as scammers are looking to steal passwords from any account as login credentials are frequently reused for multiple sites/companies. Scammers will use similar looking domains to get you to fraudulent sites.
Always double check the domain to make sure you are on the legitimate company site.
4. Avoid free anything offers. Free gift cards, free gift card codes, gift card generators are scams that continue to grow in popularity. There is no industry safe from these scams: restaurants, retail, gaming, etc. However, if someone figured out how to get free gift cards from companies, they wouldn’t be giving them away for free or posting about it online where their social media accounts and websites will get flagged and taken down. Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Often these sites get paid for either gathering your information or getting paid to have you fill out surveys.
The best things in life are free, but not gift cards. Companies do not give things away for free, there is always a cost whether it is your time, personal information, or anything else they can sell.
If you are online shopping this Black Friday/Cyber Monday, just remember to be aware and be vigilant to protect yourself.
If you are a company that wants to protect your customers from these online scams such as phishing, counterfeit products, and fraud problems contact us through bolster.ai to see how we can help.