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Black Friday Is Coming: How To Avoid Scams When Shopping Online

As online shoppers have increased this year due to COVID-19, cybercriminals are launching new scams ahead of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. Threat Post.

Photo: Shutterstock

Online shoppers are expected to skyrocket during the holidays this year due to the pandemic - and therefore there will be more scams, phishing attacks, and other malicious activity.

The risk of coronavirus infection is forcing consumers to shop from the comfort of their homes. A recent study found that 62% of consumers now shop more online than before COVID-19. From the perspective of cybercriminals, the skyrocketing number of online shoppers is driving an increase in potential victims.

Hackers aim to cash in on the best days to trade in the US - Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, as well as other holidays and dates, such as Singles Day, which recently took place in China.

“Retailers have also been hit hard by the pandemic and are likely to be sending out more emails showcasing their discounts and offers that could be faked by scammers and defrauded by consumers,” said Tony Pepper, CEO of Egress. "It can be difficult for people looking for a good deal to distinguish the stream of legitimate emails from phishing attacks trying to steal their data."

Last year, researchers said social media scams and domain spoofing were among the biggest attacks during holiday shopping season. These attacks were aimed either at stealing credentials or payment data from unsuspecting buyers, or at spreading malware into their systems. This year, researchers say phishing attacks will continue to be the top threat during the holiday season.

On the subject: Six features of Black Friday during a pandemic

These types of attacks are becoming more convincing and more difficult to detect. Attackers use sophisticated tactics, including visual validation captchas to target Office 365 users and token-based authentication methods.

Authorities around the world are already warning of fraud ahead of the holidays. For example, the "fake refund" phone scam, in which attackers impersonate a customer service representative of various brands to inform customers that a recently ordered item is out of stock and promise refunds if people pass on their bank account details. According to the BBC, such a scam recently cost one woman $ 30.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​also warned of scammers taking advantage of virtual holiday events like holiday markets and fairs by creating fake mock events that charge admission fees and steal victims' credit card information.

“Another variation of this scam is that some virtual holiday markets have websites or social media pages where sellers can post pictures of their products and links to their websites,” says the BBB. - Be careful! Some consumers told the BBB that they clicked on the links provided, thinking they were leading to an online store. Instead, the sites downloaded malware. "

Egress's Tony Pepper said consumers should always carefully check the sender's email and hover over links before clicking.

“If you're still unsure, you can always contact the seller through their website to make sure the email you received is genuine,” Pepper said. "There are also many online resources to find additional information, including many from government agencies."

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Six ways to protect yourself from scammers

By observing some precautions, it is quite possible to avoid the fate of a victim of scammers. Here's a checklist of signs to watch out for scammers and basic tips on how to protect yourself and enjoy discounts during one of the most popular events of the year.

  1. Never click on a suspicious link - scammers may direct you to emails with sponsored links that appear to be from a legitimate seller. This is an attempt to grab your attention and force you to follow a link containing malware. If the links seem suspicious to you or you are not sure about the source of the letter, do not open them. Better to go straight to the seller's website to check the deal.
  2. Beware of phishing emails - Phishing emails look like they were sent by a legitimate company, such as your bank or the retailer you shop from frequently. They will ask you to confirm your details - this cannot be done.
  3. Make sure the site is secure. A key rule of thumb when shopping online is to ensure that you are on an encrypted page, which means you must make sure the page URL starts with "https". If you do not see it, the site you are visiting may be illegal.
  4. Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi - cybercriminals know how to gain access to the information you send. So it's better to use your mobile data to make sure your financial information is safe than logging into public Wi-Fi to shop.
  5. Use a credit card or shop with Apple Pay or Android Pay - Credit cards provide consumer protection if something goes wrong with a purchase. Mobile payment solutions like Apple and Android Pay are also good to use because they combine biometrics with other digital protections to keep your data safe.
  6. Use strong passwords for online stores... Strong and secure passwords are essential to protect your identity and online accounts from hackers.

These security measures are relevant throughout the year, but it's important to put them into practice during the holiday shopping season, when cybercriminals intensify their attempts to steal your online credentials or infect your system with malware.

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