Black Friday, taking place on the 25th November this year, is a great time to do your holiday shopping, with major retail outlets offering great discounts across a wide range of their products and gifts. While it is one of the busiest days in the calendar for US retailers, it is also a time where cybercriminals are rife.
With Americans spending almost $9 billion on Black Friday deals alone, it comes as no surprise that cybercriminals are interested in gaining from this.
It is thus extremely important to be aware of some of the top Black Friday scams that are likely to be in circulation this year so that holiday shopping is made safe and you will secure the best deals possible. This article will outline five of the most common Black Friday scams, as well as how to avoid them and what to do if you think that you have been targeted.
Black Friday Scams in 2022
1. Fake Order Scam
For those looking to secure the best deals during their holiday shopping, this may be mean that they will buy multiple gifts for different recipients from a number of online sites and outlets. One prime way in which cybercriminals will target shoppers is by sending out fake order confirmation emails that will land in their inboxes.
These fake emails will likely have links to fraudulent websites which may steal your private credentials. Further, the emails may contain malware which could damage your data and documents on your device.
In order to avoid opening up or accidentally clicking on a link from these fake emails, it is important that you keep track in a separate document of the sites where you have purchased gifts from, instead of relying on incoming emails into your inbox.
2. Fake Delivery Scam
It is likely that you will receive an abundance of delivery notifications if you are making multiple purchases this Black Friday. A key scam to be aware of is when cybercriminals send out fake delivery notifications by texts or emails, usually impersonating some of the most popular shipping firms such as UPS or FedEx. These notifications will contain a dangerous link inviting the recipient to click onto the link to confirm their delivery details.
The link will take recipients to a site where their private credentials may be breached. As such, similarly to the above scam, it is important to stay on top of your deliveries using your login on the legitimate site that you have made an order from.
3. Fake Website Scam
Cybercriminals will often try to impersonate online retailer outlets with misspelled sites. This type of scam is known as typosquatting.
It is important to ensure that you are using a search engine to reach the direct site, as opposed to using a link that might be sent to you as this may have a fake website address which may use your personal information.
4. Gift Card Scam
An alternative way in which cybercriminals target shoppers on Black Friday is through gift card scams, where they are asked to pay using a gift card instead of their debit or credit card. This is because gift card purchases are not protected and are unable to be tracked, making it impossible for shoppers to retrieve their stolen funds. Cybercriminals may imitate popular gift card brands too.
5. Fake Charity Scam
Many retailers see Black Friday as a great opportunity to support philanthropic causes, giving their shoppers the option to donate to their chosen charities at online checkout. This has also become a popular holiday gift in the form of donating on behalf of a family member or friend.
Cybercriminals may take advantage of this by setting up fake charities. A simple way to identify these is by looking at the language used in their digital communication. Further, these fake charities will often ask for donations in the form of gift cards as opposed to debit or credit cards as the money cannot be recovered. It is thus important to do your own research before opting to donate to a charity and ensure that it is officially registered.
Top Tips to Avoid Black Friday Scams in 2022
Some top tips to avoid losing out on your money to cybercriminals include the following:
- Only shop at trusted online retailers. Make sure that you read up on reviews prior
- Examine the site’s URL before proceeding with entering in your details
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card for online payments. This is because credit card payments will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act
- Enable two-factor authentication on your online accounts
- Sign up to identity theft protection
Steps to Take if You Have Been Scammed
Immediately Notify the Parties Involved
This refers to the retailers as well as your bank or credit union involved with the fraudulent transaction. By doing so immediately, this will help to get the fraud investigation process started swiftly and enable you to access expert advice on what to do text.
File a Police Report
Filing a police report will mean that you are provided with a case number. This will help you to complete your claim and is usually required by the retailer that will be involved. It is also worth saving and accumulating together any supporting statements or documents to prove that you have been scammed.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
You should contact the FTC here. The FTC will provide you with a step-by-step recovery plan if you have fallen victim to identity theft online, helping you to get your identity back.