Black Friday is here, and things can get a bit overwhelming because of the deals all over the place, In the middle of the festive commotion, some so-called “retailers” are up and at ’em to scam buyers out of their money, sprinkling fake ads here and there.
Before hoarding goodies to follow up on the turkey dinner and quality family time, be wary of the fraudulent bargains spread about this holiday shopping season.
Swindlers know that shoppers eagerly wait for delivery confirmations, and they take advantage of that by sending out fake emails full of phishing links and viruses.
To stay safe from this scam, don’t click on any link on a delivery confirmation email without checking the sender’s address first, and as a safer measure, head to the supposed retailer’s website and check the order status there instead.
Their method is simple: follow a delivery truck, wait for the deliveryman to drop off the package, wait again for the deliveryman to leave, and grab the package before anyone knows it arrived. Two ways to prevent this from happening is to either track down the package and grab it once it arrives at the doorstep or to set the delivery address to a workplace.
Phishing and Vishing
There are some legitimate Black Friday deals that are so good that they look almost like scams, and some of them really are bogus. In a bid to dazzle buyers with incredibly low prices, scammers send out phony emails and post social media ads to get shoppers to partake in the “bargains.” The scheme also goes beyond the two, spreading across text messages as well.
“One new scam that is sure to be popular this season are fake text messages that are pretending to alert you that your savings or checking accounts may have been hit with some illegal activity. The text will tell you that you need to call a given phone number immediately to reactivate and ‘secure’ your account. That phone number, set up by these slick slimy criminals, will attempt to capture your home address, Social Security number, and other information,” cyber security watchdog Norton says.
When this happens, don’t panic and don’t call the phone number the text message provided. If the news is really worrisome, contact the genuine financial organization directly instead to make sure a real representative is on the other end of the phone.
Vishing is similar to phishing, but it happens over the phone. To avoid this scam, don’t give out any sensitive information to unsolicited callers, ask them what company they’re working for and hang up. Check the phone number of the company they said they represent and call that instead.
Bogus Online Stores
Fake retailer websites are up and about online that seem authentic but are, in fact, not.
“Beware of pop-up shops that show up around the holidays, as these stores can disappear before you know it,” Better Business Bureau says.
To avoid falling for this, always shop only at official websites of reputable retailers, and as an extra measure, BBB suggests checking a business on its website to make sure it’s legitimate.
Fake Gift Cards
Gift cards can substitute as convenient gifts, but the problem here is that some of them may be fake or used when bought from a third-party seller, not to mention they may turn out to be nothing at all.
To keep this from happening, don’t risk buying from third-party sellers and buy directly from the store itself.
A fake Android app has been making the rounds on the Internet, sporting the well-known Amazon icon. It’s designed to steal users’ personal information, accessing a device’s call logs, contact details and text messages.
To steer clear of this one, don’t install any similar app from a third-party source. Once this app is installed, it can’t be deleted easily, as a hidden secondary app will remain to wreak havoc on the device.
“This newly loaded app will first register itself as a service. Even if we remove the fake Amazon app, the ‘com.android.engine’ app will stay persistent and keep doing its activity in the background,” Zscaler Research, which discovered the information-stealing app, says.
To sum things up, these scams take on the name of reputable retailers, so be extra careful during this Black Friday holiday. Don’t click on links without checking an email’s authenticity, don’t give out too much sensitive information online and monitor your bank account transactions.
“[T]he area I’m more worried about is online Black Friday deals where there’s actually no bargain to be had. If people think they are getting a bargain that’s too good to be true it’s because it is too good to be true,” Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, warns online shoppers.