Black Friday scams: Stay safe from cyber criminals this sale season

Shopping on laptop

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide some stellar opportunities to pick up major savings ahead of Christmas, phishing emails and scams are plentiful as cyber criminals look to take advantage of shoppers. 

Research from Tessian found that 30% of people in the US received a phishing email around Black Friday in 2020, and with the sales event growing every year in Australia scammers will be looking to take advantage of Aussies too.

Thankfully, there’s a number of things you can look out for to ensure any deals or offers you stumble across for Black Friday are the real thing, and a few tell-tale signs that can help out the phishing emails. 

Here at Mozo, we’ve put together some tips to help you keep your accounts and money safe over the sales period.

Shop with reputable retailers

Retailers offer massive discounts on major products across the sales period, so some of those ‘too good to be true’ offers may actually be true! This can make it a bit more difficult to discern whether an email you receive is a phishing email, or whether you’ve just had a really good deal delivered straight to your email. 

One way to sort through the confusion is to shop with reputable retailers and stores you’ve previously purchased from. This will help prevent you from being targeted by pretend businesses looking for your card details. 

The most common scams come by way of tricking customers into believing an email or message they receive is legitimate. We recommend double checking any marketing emails or messages you may receive to ensure they’re 100% the real deal. Keep an eye out for spelling errors or typos in the text, check the urls of any link to ensure you’re being taken to the real site. Most importantly, ensure the email address or phone number included is correct and not filled with any errors, misspellings or extra letters/numbers.

Add to cart, don’t purchase directly

Now this might seem like an odd suggestion, but by adding an item to cart you’re giving yourself the opportunity to check the validity of a site rather than being taken straight to a payment page. 

At the site hosting the deal, you can check the url, find other items on the site and give it a scan for any red flags. If everything looks legitimate, you can complete your purchase.

Make sure payment details are encrypted

If you’re at the purchase stage you’ll want to be sure you’re entering your card details via an encrypted connection. This means your data will be safe and much harder for cyber criminals to steal. 

The easiest way to check for a secure connection is to look for the prefix ‘https’ in the url and a padlock icon in the url bar. These two factors show you’re on an encrypted connection and that your card/personal information is safe.

Remember, your data isn’t secured if it hasn’t been encrypted in this way.

Find your deals from trusted sites

If you’re looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and don’t quite know where to start, make sure you head to a trusted site. 

While plenty of sites have their own Black Friday hubs, we’ve put together an extensive guide complete with everything you need to know about Black Friday, including deals and checklists to help you pick up some bargains.

Head over to our online shopping hub to keep up to date with articles, tips and guides surrounding upcoming sales events.