6 Black Friday scams and how to avoid them!

Black Friday attracts millions of shoppers looking to bid and buy hot products.

In 2020, 186,4 million consumers in the United States shopped during the four days after Thanksgiving, from Black Friday to Cyber ​​Mondey, according to National Retail Federation statistics.

Here are six common Black Friday scams and how to do your holiday shopping without falling victim to a scammer:


Scam No. 1: The gift that never arrives

You search the internet and suddenly you find the perfect gift at a good price. Go to the website, put the product in your cart and click the "buy" button. You do not receive a tracking number, the package never arrives and the seller disappears. You have fallen victim to what the FBI calls "surrender fraud."

How to avoid fraud

Visit reputable sellers. Check for a physical address, a customer service phone number, and a business-looking website. Site warning signs include poor spelling, strange design, and slow loading. Only buy from secure sites with SSL encryption, with URLs starting with https (not http) and a lock icon in the upper left corner.

What to do if you fall victim

Try to contact the seller, collect screenshots or other proof of problems and ask your credit card company to reverse the charges for fraud. If you paid with PayPal, an alternative is to make a ticket report and immediately refund your money. Consider asking your bank to deactivate your old card and issue you a new one.

Scam No. 2: Seller who requires you to pay with a gift card

You plan to use your favorite credit card to make your purchases Black Friday or Cyber ​​Monday, but a seller will ask you to pay with a gift card. This can happen on auction sites. Gift cards are "a popular way for fraudsters to steal money," according to the US Federal Trade Commission.

How to avoid fraud

Use a credit card for your online shopping. Treat gift cards as cash, never give your gift card number or PIN and use them only with the dealer who issues it. For example, you would use an IKEA gift card at an IKEA store or at IKEA.com. Use generic gift cards, such as Mastercard or Visa gift cards, only at a reputable retailer.

What to do if you fall victim

Contact the issuer of the gift card immediately to let them know that your gift card was used in connection with a fraudulent product. If you act quickly, you may be refunded the money left on your gift card. Every major retailer has a way of reporting gift card fraud.

Scam No. 3: Collecting Donations for a Fake Charity

Scammers can take advantage of the holiday spirit by using moving stories to obtain donations to fake charities.

How to avoid fraud

Never make an impulsive donation in response to an advertisement or a social media appeal. Take the time to research charities using resources that monitor and rate nonprofits. For example, Charity Navigator offers the option to search for high-profile charities and has a gift basket feature that lets you donate to multiple charities at once.

What to do if you fall victim

If you have been deceived by a fake charity, report the fraud. The FBI recommends contacting your city's consumer protection department, the FBI Internet Crime Reporting Center, and the Federal Trade Commission. You will probably not get your money back, but you can help the authorities catch the scammer.

Scam No. 4: Message for an item you never ordered

Hackers can take advantage of Black Friday shopping to launch a phishing attack. In this case, you may receive an email or other message informing you that there is a problem with an item you ordered. But you do not recognize the item and know that you never ordered it. The message may be an e-mail intended to trick you into clicking on a suspicious link, providing your bank login credentials or giving other personal information to the perpetrator.

How to avoid fraud

If you receive a message about an item you did not order, be smart. The hacker hopes that you will do what he asked you to do. If you are not sure if a message is valid, contact the company through other channels you will find yourself, such as its customer service phone number.

What to do if you fall victim

If you click on a phishing link, do something right away. If you provided login credentials for any site, change your username and password immediately. Choose a unique password that is difficult for anyone to crack, using at least 12 characters with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Also change the PIN number if necessary. Update your software and run a security scan on your devices for malware.

Scam No. 5: The Virtual Shopping Website

In another Black Friday scam, you think you are going to the website of your favorite department store to get some offers, but you mistakenly type the name in the bar of your browser and think you are on the actual site and make a "purchase". . The scammer steals your credit card information to use or sell it and possibly collects other personal information such as your name and address.

How to avoid fraud

The easiest way to avoid a cloned site is to make sure you are on the actual site when you want to shop. For example, you can add bookmarks to your favorite shopping sites for easy access. And never visit a salesperson by clicking on an email or social media link.

What to do if you fall victim

Immediately change your username and password for the actual shopping site, as fraudsters may have obtained your login information. If you have saved your credit card details on the actual site, delete the precautions. If you used a credit card to make a purchase on a fake website, report the fraud to your card issuer. They will prevent the scammer from using your old card number and will issue you a new card with a new number and expiration date.

Scam No. 6: The fake delivery notice

Many consumers will be making holiday shopping online this year and hackers are taking advantage of this by sending false delivery notifications via email or a simple message. These alerts may appear to be from ELTA, ACS or UPS. Scammers are betting that you recently bought something online and Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday are improving their chances of being stolen. They can report a delivery problem and provide a link that you can click to "fix the problem". You may be asked to enter personal information or a credit card number.

How to avoid fraud

Just knowing about this scam is a good start. If you ever receive an email or simple message about a delivery problem, do not click on any of the links and do not call the fake email number. If you think this might be a legitimate email, look for the company information yourself and contact them directly. If the message was not true, let them know about the scam.

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What to do if you fall victim

In general, it is a good idea to follow the same steps as you should for the fourth scam, which is also a phishing scam. You may also want to monitor your accounts closely and consider tracking identity theft, either on your own or through a service.

Holidays are a gift for cyber criminals. That's why it's so important to know how fraudulent shopping sprees work in 2021 and take steps to help keep you, your family and your property safe this season.

Shop safely and have good shopping !!

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