Black Friday is probably one of the most awaited seasons in a year because of the exciting deals here and there. However, this season is also the time for cybercriminals to take advantage of people's amenability.
To protect yourself from getting scammed this Black Friday, keep these tips in mind.
Protect your online accounts by using strong diverse passwords.
A lot of people use the same passwords for all of their online accounts as it is easier to remember that way. However, cyber swindlers can steal a person's password and possibly use it to log in to his other online accounts.For this reason, you must always use dissimilar passwords with high-security strength. Have a notepad and write down all your account passwords so you don't forget. Also,do not use simple passwords as it can be cracked by hackers.
Avoid clicking links and attachments in emails.
A lot of online fraudsters use email as there way of gaining access to people's personal information or credit card details. They will impersonate retailers by sending sale deals via email with links and attachments that contain malware.
These emails are more commonly known as phishing emails. Instead of clicking the links or opening the attachments, go to the retailer's website directly to see if such deals exist.
Be wary of e-skimmers.
Card skimming has been prevalent across the globe for many years. It typically happens at ATMs, gas stations, or small convenience stores wherein the culprits install a device that can record credit card account numbers and information when a card is swiped on the machine.
The bad news is, this type of fraud is now happening online as well. Fraudsters can now hack retailer websites and install malicious codes that gather credit card information when you check out.
In order to avoid this type of skimming, try to use trustworthy third-party payment partners such as PayPal, Amazon, or Venmo if available.
Only shop at reputable retail websites.
Thousands of online retail stores are now available on the web. However, there are also tons of sneaky retail websites out there. These websites offer eye-catching products but when the items are shipped to the customers, the product that is shown online is completely different from what was delivered.
“This is a common scam among so many online retail stores wherein they show deceitful product photos and descriptions on their site just to entice buyers. Therefore, before buying anything from online shops, make sure to check its track record first. You can read authentic customer reviews for businesses at Yellow Pages, Angie's List, or Yelp. If you are buying from a less popular website,check their BBB ratings or Trustpilot score.”says Michael Johnson,founder of a shopping assistant website GoMonatna focused on coupons.
Block pop-up ads.
Aside from email, ads and pop-ups are another way of fraudsters to gather your card and personal information. Malicious ads are often referred to as malvertising – short term for malicious advertising.
When you click these ads, you will be redirected to another website where it would ask for your personal information. These ads can also carry viruses and malware which can hack your device or affect its performance.
To avoid getting scammed through malvertising, try to install a credible adblocker. An adblocker is an app that has the ability to detect and block malicious ads and pop-ups from your device.
Avoid using public WiFi.
Public WiFi connections are often prone to cyber fraudsters and malicious bots. Moreover, public WiFi connections are not secure and can be an easy gateway of fraudsters to people's devices. They can easily go through your smartphone or laptop and possibly gather important details.
Whenever you are shopping online or going through your online banking app, make sure to only use a private and highly-secured network. You can also use your cellular network's internet data to browse the internet.
In case you really need to use a public Wifi connection, make sure you have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed as it can encrypt your internet browsing activity. Basically, a VPN enables you to generate a secure network connection with another network through the internet.
Be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true Deals and Offers.
The Black Friday season is the time for endless sale offers and gift cards. However, not all of these offers are genuine. “Some fraudsters will send offers and gift cards through email but on the actual fact, they are only a clickbait to redirect you to another website that will ask for your personal information. There are also instances when scammers offer yearly plans and run away from business after a month,”says Naveen Ketkar,founder of daily deals website Hellodiya.com .
Aside from the tips mentioned above, being suspicious and cautious when online shopping is still among the best ways to evade scams this Black Friday.
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