Why Is Black Friday So Dangerous for Consumers?

The major shift to online shopping increases the chance you can be fleeced leading up to Black Friday 2020.

Online shopping and e-commerce have exploded as a result of COVID-19 and consumers can expect a barrage of phishing scams and malware ahead of Black Friday 2020.

The shift to remain within the safety and comfort of one’s home this past year has resulted in record levels of online consumer spending. A recent report by Adobe Analytics suggests that online retail purchases have increased by a staggering US$107 billion this year due to coronavirus social distancing guidelines. This number is expected to escalate as we approach the holiday season. Sixty percent of consumers predict that they plan to do all their shopping online this year.

How to Avoid Black Friday Scams

The following information can be used as a guide to protecting your personal and banking information in the lead-up to Black Friday.

Verify the Retailer and the Website

As we approach the holiday season, retailers will attempt to target consumers with fantastic savings through their websites and other online marketing channels. Always ensure that you recognize the website and trust the retailer before proceeding with an online purchase. While many products will offer significant discounts, it is always recommended to verify the retailer and the website before giving out your personal information.

Social Media Deals

Social media platforms are a popular space for scammers to operate. The vast majority of those who are active on social media will undoubtedly have noticed ads that offer unbeatable discounts for big brand merchandise ahead of Black Friday. It is best, however, to ignore these ads from the onset as all too many of them are linked to online scams.

Consumers have reported that once their personal and card information is provided, communication with the “seller” is terminated and promises of a great bargain simply disappear. In addition, merchants who only allow payment in cryptocurrency should be viewed with extreme caution. Because crypto transactions are designed to be clouded in anonymity, cryptocurrencies have become the preferred payment option for scammers. 

Be Vigilant with Scam Emails

Email phishing scams will certainly make an appearance with unbeatable offers ahead of Black Friday. Criminals can easily disguise a website and make it look almost identical to the original. 

If you receive a surprise email from a company but never subscribed to its mailing list, take a quick look at the email address and URL they want to direct you to. Perform a quick search on Google and verify its authenticity against the original domain.

You should also keep an eye out for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check that the domain name has an “s” after “http,” which indicates that the site is secure and safe to browse.

Avoid Making a Purchase on Public WiFi

Free WiFi is offered in many hotels, shopping malls, entertainment areas, and public spaces. The unfortunate downside to this, however, is that scam artists are easily able to gain access to these unsecured networks and compromise your data. 

Avoid transactions on unsecure networks when personal and banking information is required to be submitted. 

Watch out for Counterfeit Merchandise

A simple and relatively effective way to identify a Black Friday scam website is to check for poor spelling and grammar. Companies that do not provide contact information or a physical address are also signs of a possible scam.

It is further recommended to check out user reviews regarding a particular product or company. That will help in your decision whether to proceed with a purchase. Lots of positive feedback should give a level of trust while negative feedback is a good sign to tread with caution or walk away from a purchase.

Victim of  a Black Friday Scam?

If you are the victim of a Black Friday scam, contact MyChargeBack. We are an American financial services firm specializing in complex, card-not-present dispute resolution. Working with over 800 banks worldwide, we have assisted clients on every continent recover millions of dollars in assets that they thought they lost for good.