Black Friday Scam Warnings – How to Stay Safe


Black Friday is just around the corner on 24th November 2017, and it is set to send consumers into a frenzy of deal searching and sales hunting this year, but in the chaos, it is important to remember that not all deals are as they seem.  With brands such as Amazon, Dell, Kohl and Microsoft already advertising around their Black Friday sales push, it is relatively easy for hackers to predict the type of emails that are likely to be sent out and line-up a phishing campaign accordingly.

The top two cyber scams PhishMe advises internet users to look out for ahead of Black Friday are:

1. Fake survey to earn reward
Emails pretending to be from a legitimate company that ask recipients to complete a survey in return for a reward are often sent by spammers. In addition to never delivering on the reward, a great deal of personal information is collected in the process of completing the survey that can then be utilised by the cybercriminals or sold to other companies.

2. Impossibly good deals… on sketchy websites
Some emails may link through to websites that have no intention of providing goods – counterfeit or legitimate – at all.  Instead, the URL directs to a non-secured website, using an IP address rather than a domain name.  While the same goods may be discounted for Black Friday on the legitimate site, this is likely to be at a much lower rate than on the fake site.

Aaron Higbee, CTO of PhishMe offers the following advice on Black Friday scams:

“The old adage, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’ stands true with most of the Black Friday cyber scams, but it is important for consumers to become conditioned to recognise the signs of fake deal. Making sure you’re on a reputable online store is the first step to securing your Black Friday shopping and this can be verified by ensuring the link is consistent with the webpage.  While you’re looking at the URL to make sure you are where you think you are, take note of the ‘s’ in ‘https’ which stands for secure and check that a green lock appears with green text in your browsers address bar.

This will ensure that any credit card information is protected with encryption and that you are dealing with a reputable retailer as the site’s owner has been verified. There is no doubt that Black Friday can be a great opportunity to snag a good deal during your holiday shopping, but keeping these simple steps in mind for checking the authenticity of deals, could be the difference between saving you a few pounds and costing you a gold mine.”

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