Save from frauds & Scams
This weekend, you'll undoubtedly spend some time browsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts. Unfortunately, con artists rely on that.
In 2021, nearly $20 billion was spent online between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making it a prime time for scammers to target consumers.
According to Ariana Bago, a fraud analyst at proxy provider Proxyrack, scammers are highly likely to profit from budget-conscious shoppers looking for holiday sales steep enough to beat inflation.
Bago wrote a statement to CNBC Make It saying, "It's crucial to remain watchful and aware of any potential frauds that may come your way."
Here are five of the most prevalent Black Friday frauds to stay away from this weekend, according to Proxyrack.
The goal of con artists is to trick you into clicking a dangerous link.
The link may send malware to your computer or take you to a phoney website that asks for your passwords to your financial accounts or other personal information. It might show up in a text message, email, or targeted social media advertisement.
In conclusion, only click on links that you are positive are authentic.
According to cybersecurity expert Kevin Mitnick, "never click a link and enter your username and password in something that you didn't start." "That's a basic set of rules that individuals ought to follow."
The sender's contact details should be double-checked to ensure they correspond with the business or financial institution they claim to represent if you do get a message with a potentially suspicious link while shopping, Proxyrack advised.
When in doubt, Bago advised finding a reliable phone number or email address to use to "contact the company or your bank directly to request more information on the issue."
You might notice an increase in requests to download "money-saving" browser extensions, especially during the holiday shopping season, according to Proxyrack's analysis.
Some of these are trustworthy and can open the door to savings or cash-back opportunities you might have otherwise missed. But con artists can also take advantage of your desire to find significant savings by publishing phoney browser add-ons that are harmful software-filled and phish your personal information.
According to Proxyrack, the majority of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will be prominently featured on retailer websites. If you do decide to install a browser extension, check out TrustPilot's reviews to determine if it's questionable.
The last thing you want to hear is that some of your purchases could have to be cancelled because they didn't go through.
Because of this, con artists frequently adopt the personas of well-known businesses and get in touch with you urgently to say that an order didn't go through or that your payment information has to be updated. They could also pretend to be your bank and request information verification before processing your payments.
According to Proxyrack, con artists frequently attempt to instil a "feeling of urgency," suggesting that failing to take rapid action may have serious repercussions, such as having your order for goods cancelled or even having your bank account stopped.
That kind of forceful language is rarely employed by legitimate businesses. If you do want to follow up, Proxyrack advised contacting the business.
It makes sense if you're sick of inflation-inflated costs that you'd want to find the best sales this weekend. This could direct you to phoney websites advertising offers that are, in fact, too good to be true.
You should double-check each website's URL while you browse different websites to ensure that it is real before entering any personal information, suggested Proxyrack.
Play it safe and stay away from the website entirely if it is unknown to you and you are unable to confirm its legitimacy through online investigation (again, websites like TrustPilot might be helpful).
A reasonably simple method for making it more difficult for hackers to access your personal accounts is multi-factor authentication.
But it's not impenetrable, and con artists can get past it by sending you phishing messages in which they pose as representatives of your bank or a well-known merchant and request that you confirm a verification code in order to complete your transaction.
In some circumstances, it's possible that the scammer already knows your password and log-in details, potentially as a result of a data leak, and they just need the verification code to access your online accounts.
Because of this, banks and merchants frequently remind you to keep your multi-factor authentication codes private and that no one will ever call you to ask for them.
Only immediately insert a verification code into a login page that you are familiar with and confident in.
Although it may be annoying to play it safe during this busy shopping season, the alternative is much worse. It's preferable to miss out on a few opportunities than to fall victim to bank fraud and lose a substantial amount of money, according to Bago.
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