Protecting yourself and your loved ones from cyber fraud this Black Friday
Updated 21 November, 2021
You can't wait to start shopping this Black Friday, maybe you've even been sent some early deals. How can you stay safe online?
Black Friday is an exciting time for businesses, there are so many transactions. In 2021, Black Friday falls on November 26. Last year according to the PwC, 88% of shoppers expected to do their black Friday shopping online and we can expect something similar this year. The surge in transactions saw one card processing firm process over 1,000 transactions per second. Current events remain one of the most important weapons in the arsenal of fraudsters, they exploit current events to make a scam more relevant, more believable and more urgent. Due to the time-limited nature of black Friday deals, the volume of transactions and the ensuing surge in deliveries over the next few days, there’s a strong possibility you or your loved ones could inadvertently become victims of cyber fraud. What can you do to stay safe? We’ll take a closer look at the overall threat landscape and we’ll share 5 tips that can help you.
5 tips to stay safe
1. Don't rush
Urgency is one of the key tactics being used by fraudsters. They’ll usually try to pressure you into making decisions quickly by presenting a limited offer or encouraging you to quickly claim an offer while it lasts. They’ll often persuasively appeal to your emotion by presenting something you’d want. The key here is don’t rush, even if the offer is very appealing. There’s no need to rush, research from consumer group which showed that 90% of black Friday products were the same price or cheaper at other times in the year.
2. Carefully check the website link (if in doubt check the domain history)
Fake websites can sometimes look very convincing, some are almost indistinguishable from a genuine website. To spot a fake website, check the domain history using a tool like scamadviser.com – fake websites would usually have been created in most cases a few weeks or months ago or a few years ago. It’s highly unlikely that your bank’s website was only created 2 months ago. Another thing to check here is the website link, some fraudulent links are now including more characters and symbols to possibly reduce the likelihood of customers being able to spot errors in it. The usual tricks involve trying to use a similar name to a popular brand or deliberate typos in the website link.
3. Check on your loved ones who are more susceptible
While we may likely feel that it’s unlikely that we’ll become victims of cyber fraud, however there’s a real possibility that some of our loved ones may fall for one of these scams. We all have an auntie, uncle, parents or friends who are likely to be at risk. Risk factors may include stress, age, technical ability, searching for a bargain or a combination of other psychological factors. Can you offer some practical assistance to these susceptible ones? Depending on the circumstances, practical assistance could include advising them to be more careful around these dates, asking them to contact you if they’re thinking of purchasing anything on Black Friday to just giving them a call around that time to see how they’re getting on.
4. Check the amount involved
Another key metric to consider is the amount involved in the transaction. Research showed that victims of Black Friday scams lost around £700. Some fraudsters deliberately lower prices to make their offer more persuasive. After the black Friday event, the risk is still real but the scam amount is much lower as the type of scam might switch to delivery message scams with associated amounts typically £1.99, £2.99 or £3.99. If you receive a message or an email offering something around £700, or a delivery text message asking you to pay an amount around £2.99 – please take extra care.
5. Don’t be overconfident – acknowledge that you are at risk
Years of shopping online safely could contribute to cyber confidence which is good but this may lead to overconfidence. Many may feel that they’re too smart to fall for cyber fraud, but never say never. In one age group, 3 out of 4 were so confident that they didn’t check whether emails received were genuine before clicking the link. Take extra care when shopping online, don’t easily click any links in emails/messages, don’t easily provide any personal or payment details, remember that if something is too good to be true it likely is and bank transfers when making a purchase online should be a no-go area. Remember that fraudsters are getting smarter, scam emails and text messages are looking more genuine. A real question to consider is – am I doing enough to protect myself and my loved ones from cyber fraud this black Friday? We hope the 5 tips we’ve shared have been helpful.
A snapshot of a section of the cyber fraud threat landscape this Black Friday, based on historical cyber fraud data