5 tips for safe online shopping on Black Friday 2017

Cyber criminals are preparing traps for shopaholics

5 tips for safe online shopping on Black Friday 2017

The massive shopping free will be held on the 24th of November. However, Black Friday[1] 2017 will not only make people go to the physical stores to grab goods but empty online shops’ shelves as well. However, online shopping might end up pretty bad. Instead of getting gadgets, clothes and other items for a small price, you might reveal your personal information or money to cyber criminals.

According to the Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) research in 2016,[2] third of online shoppers might put themselves at risk. It means they might become victims of fraud by chasing discounts and limited shopping offers.

The Black Friday is coming in a little bit more than a week. There’s no doubt that scammers are already looking for the targets. However, we are here to help you avoid scammers’ trap by providing 5 major tips on staying safe during Black Friday.

1. Watch out discount coupons and special shopping offers received in the email

Phishing emails are definitely a sweet spot for the scammers. During the shopping season, users might find more spam or promotional emails in the inbox. While one of these offers are legit, others are used for tricking users. In order not to fall into criminals’ trap, you should not:

  • open newsletters from companies you haven’t signed for receiving their news;
  • click on any links or buttons included in the email because they might redirect to a phishing site that is used for
  • collecting your personal information or install malware to the computer;
  • before clicking any content in the email, check senders address and make sure that it’s the same that is used by the
  • company.

Keep in mind, that scammers often send malicious emails on behalf of popular brands and shops, such as Amazon,[3] Tesco, Ray-Ban, etc. Do not forget that even if it’s Black Friday, there’s no way that companies give their products almost for free. Thus, be vigilant!

2. Do not fall for scams on social media

Black Friday is also a perfect chance to spread scams on popular social networks, such as Facebook. There are numerous Facebook scams you should be aware and do not get tricked by one of them. Before participating in contests or sharing posts, always make sure if you are interacting with a verified account (it has a blue tick sign), but not a fake one.

Recently, scammers have also been noticed spreading fake WhatsApp messages offering gift cards.[4] However, in exchange for that, users have to give their personally identifiable and banking data on the phishing site. If you received a message from your friend or unknown contact, do not click the link. Not only you end up on a fake website but might install spyware on your device as well.

3. Do not shop while connected on public Wi-Fi

Every time you connect to public Wi-Fi, you risk that some evil-minded person in the same coffee shop or library might hack into your computer. Wireless connection and hotspots are vulnerable and easily accessible even for non-experienced hackers.

The safest way to shop using cable Internet connection, mobile data or at least your home Wi-Fi connection. Then you can be sure that no one can interfere your connection and collect your banking details.

4. Make sure that e-shop has HTTPS protocol and green padlock symbol

HTTPS is the 5 important letters that should appear before online shop’s URL address. This security protocol ensures that your credit card information is safe from the criminals. These letters should be followed by the green padlock symbol too.

The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS websites is that the letter “S” indicates the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypts personal information entered into the site.

5. Shop on trusted online stores only

Scammers can create convincing copies of the legit websites. However, a fake site can often be recognized by different domain address. If you see the end of the URL address .net or .org instead of original .com,[5] you should not rushing buying goods.

If you clicked on the link in the email or ad and ended up on the shopping site, make sure that you are on a legit website by:

  • checking the domain name;
  • looking for HTTPS protocol;
  • checking for credentials;
  • looking for the information about possible scams and phishing attacks held using the name of the popular e-shop.

Keep in mind that taking risk and shopping on unknown website might lead to bigger problems than unreceived parcel. Crooks might also empty your bank account or steal the identity. Thus, it's better stay safe than sorry!

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Security researcher

Lucia Danes is the news editor at UGetFix. She is always on the move because the eager for knowledge makes her travel around the globe and attend InfoSec events and conferences.

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