Let’s be honest, most Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases this year will happen from our sofa. And fraudsters will be sitting right next to us. These are some of their latest tricks, so that when their scams are calling, we ignore them.
The 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other we’ve experienced. In many cases, COVID-19 will keep us in our own homes and away from crowded stores. That may be a good way to curb spending, but the reality is, you still want to buy gifts for people you care about. Starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s open season for online buying and online fraud.
When pandemic lockdowns began, online traffic exploded. NuData analysts reported a 67% increase in online traffic from March 1 to June 30, compared to the same period in 2019.
When you shopped in-store, your EMV chip card protected you, but when shopping online, that layer of protection is gone. Shoppers are wise to protect their passwords, avoid using public Wi-Fi, and only shop with merchants they trust.
Will Cyber Monday 2020 hit record highs?
Last November, Cyber Monday topped the record books with $9.4 billion in sales, and the first year in history that we spent over $3 billion from our smartphones, according to Adobe Analytics. They also reported that between November 1 to December 1, 2019, consumers spent $72.1 billion online.
As shared during an interview with PaymentsJournal, Robert Capps, VP of Marketplace Innovation at NuData, doesn’t think spending will reach those levels this year, but warns that despite the volume of traffic, fraudsters will still be innovating ways to capture private credentials.
Know where you are shopping
Capps says many users may feel safe when shopping from home on their trusted network. That’s when we let our guard down and take more chances.
“A lot of products are in short supply, and consumers have to look to other providers to buy the products and services they are looking for,” Capps says. “While they may have done business with a major retailer, now they’re going to smaller organizations, and they’re buying from those organizations because they still have stock on their shelves.”
Unfortunately, some are fraudsters, posing as merchants in order to collect your credentials. Some will disappear without a trace, while others will send you an inexpensive, ineffective product for the same reason.
These guys may also post click-bait ads promoting sought-after products. When you click the ad, you may also be downloading malware that infects your device.
If you see an ad or a post on eBay that is irresistible, do your research first. Check reviews and eBay sellers’ reputations. If you can’t find them or they don’t measure up, neither will those cute new jeans.
Cyber Monday and Black Friday emails? Be suspicious
Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, and that is especially true for those with attachments. If you subscribe to a favorite merchant, you should still be careful. Instead of clicking on the email, type the business URL into your browser and look for the deal on their website. If it’s not there, you know it was a scam.
Don’t trust free Wi-Fi
Many of us mindlessly scroll our email or social media at a coffee shop without realizing that public Wi-Fi isn’t secure. Hackers can access the system, and then your device. Bad actors can even create their own public Wi-Fi using their own computers as internet hotspots. Any data you send through your phone is intercepted by the bad actor.
Attacks aimed at social channels
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other social channels are rife with phishing-related links. Know those requests to copy and paste a meme from your friends? Resist the urge. And the friend request from someone you’ve never heard of but claims to find you interesting? Nope, not that either. Games can also be a way of collecting your data, so think twice before downloading free games.
Sadly, Verizon data shows that while only 1-5% of people click on phishing-related links, many are repeat offenders: 15 percent are successfully phished more than once.
We hope that, after reading this blog, you stay in the 85% of the population that doesn’t fall for the same trick twice, no matter how shiny. Happy shopping!
Related to this post: No-one expects fraud will happen to them until it does