Tis the season to be… prepared for phishing attacks. Sure, online shopping has made our lives so much easier, but scams and traps lurk in all corners of the Internet, especially with Black Friday and the holiday season just around the corner.

In this article, we’ll walk you through five more Black Friday scams and valuable tips to help you avoid them.

Black Friday Scams

Cybercrooks see opportunity in the plethora of crazy deals offered by legitimate brands, preying on unsuspecting online shoppers who rush to score the best deal and sometimes overlook red flags in the process.

If you do get scammed, your money is most likely gone for good. What’s worse though is the fact that the fraudsters now have your personal info and could use it for ill purposes.

Gal Ringer, CEO of Mine, says that 30% to 50% of the annual average of data breaches happen during the last two months of the year alone.

Dave Baggett, co-founder, and CEO of security firm Inky, says. “People are buying a lot of things over a short period of time, and they are hurried about it. This presents opportunities for crooks.”

We’ve compiled a list of eight tips to help you protect yourself and your company from Black Friday & Cyber Monday online fraud attempts.

1. Gift Card Scams

We all have that picky friend that you just can’t find the right present for. This is why many people are buying gift cards rather than traditional gifts this year. As a result, gift card spending is expected to see a growth of up to 27% this holiday season.

“Scammers love gift cards because they are untraceable, and there’s no way to recover the money once a scammer has the card details,” said Jenny Grounds, CMO of Cybercrime Support Network.

Most gift card scams involve the fraudster demanding the victim to pay a fee with a gift card or pretending to be a family member who needs the money for a specific store.

One in four online fraud victims said that they paid with a gift card. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) warns that if someone asks to be paid with a gift card, it’s a scam.

2. Package Delivery Scams

Online shopping has experienced a boom since the beginning of the pandemic. Many people track their parcels on the shipping company’s website or via text messages.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) warns people of delivery notification scam phone calls and text messages. The texts appear identical to those sent by a legitimate mail courier and often provide a fake tracking link.

The link directs victims to a phishing website that will ask for personal information or even install malware on the user’s device, which will then steal their data. 

Malicious voicemail messages could also ask you to call back to get your package, resulting in high connection fees. The FCC says these numbers often start with an 809 area code or 10-digit international numbers. 

Cybercrooks might also demand money to deliver a package for customs fees or tax. 

If you receive a text message regarding an unexpected delivery, do not click on any unfamiliar links. Also, look closely for spelling and grammar errors, or email accounts that just seem off. If you’re still in doubt, call the mail service directly and check with them.

3. Temporary Holiday Job Scams

For most stores, the holidays are the busiest time of year, so they’ll often hire seasonal staff to help with the extra work.

Scammers take advantage of this context by creating a fake job posting will, advertising for seasonal help. They will ask the applicant to pay for job supplies, application, or training fees. These posts will also promise high wages for easy tasks.

If you’re searching for seasonal employment, don’t fall for fake job offers that ask you to work for free or pay for training.

You should always request an official letter and confirmation in writing of the job description and compensation before you start working.

4. Social Media Messaging Scams

Social media scams have seen a massive increase lately.

Keep in mind that fraudsters can hack into users’ accounts and exploit compromised accounts to send messages promoting various products. 

Although it might seem like they are promoting legitimate top and exclusive deals, they may be trying to scam you. 

To ensure you don’t fall into a trap, you should verify that the person who messaged you is someone you have regular contact with or if it’s someone you never spoke to before. 

If you do receive a message you’re doubtful of, you should contact the sender through another contact method to let them know and check if it’s really them who messaged you. 

5. Retailer Impersonating Scams

Some phishing scams involve setting up an entire copycat website and advertising products and/or services that don’t exist. 

The fake sites often have stolen images and descriptions from genuine company sites to make it easier for you to fall for the trap, but all they want is your money. 

To avoid being phished on these dangerous sites, make sure you are using official websites when shopping. Check for the green padlock icon in the web address bar. If you spot it, then you’re in the clear. 

Don’t let the phishing season catch you off guard. Phishing can have disastrous consequences, especially for businesses. Keep the bad guys at bay by teaching your employees the best online security practices.

To have complete protection against all kinds of phishing scams, you need security awareness training in your company to keep your employees from falling victims to fraud.

Cybersecurity awareness is a crucial factor in protecting your data and devices. It would be best if you learned to spot potential phishing attacks, software that looks suspicious and can be malicious, and other threats. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you enrich your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge with up-to-date security best practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irreparable damage.

Keep your company safe from online scams with ATTACK Simulator.

Do you think your employees are ready for a phishing attack? Then, put them to the test with our free security awareness training trial and see how well they’d do!

Attribution:

People illustrations by Storyset

Online illustrations by Storyset

Web illustrations by Storyset

Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash