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How to avoid Black Friday scams

Black Friday is one of the most popular shopping events of the year. It’s an ideal time to find great deals with plenty of savings on many products, but it’s also a perfect opportunity for scammers to target unsuspecting shoppers with fraudulent activity. We’d like to raise awareness of common Black Friday scams and how to spot them to help you avoid being taken advantage of.

Black Friday Scams: Be Wary of Fake Websites and Emails

Scammers commonly replicate well-known retailer websites and emails with concerning accuracy. This gives them the appearance of authenticity which encourages unaware visitors to enter personally identifiable information and payment details.

To avoid this:

  • Check the sender email and website URLs for any misspellings or variances from the official retailer site.
  • Verify the website has a secure checkout process before entering any sensitive data. Look for the “https” in the URL and a lock icon.
  • Do not click on links or attachments from unknown or suspicious senders. Manually navigate to known retailer sites instead.

Research Deals and Prices Ahead of Time

There are plenty of Black Friday deals that seem too good to be true. Take time to research a retailer before making a purchase if the advertised discount seems unrealistic or you’ve never heard of the store selling the product.

  • Check online to see if other well-known retailers offer similar prices. Scammers often list prices lower than the going market rate.
  • Verify product details and model numbers to ensure the deal is for the exact same item and not a knock-off version.
  • Comparison shop using price history sites to gauge if the discount is truly significant or inflated. 

By doing your homework, you avoid falling for fake or not so steep deals.

Stick to Secure Payment Methods

If possible, use a credit card or established digital wallet service, such as PayPal, when making online purchases. Try to avoid paying with methods like wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, or other forms of untraceable payment.

If your information is compromised by a black Friday scam, credit cards provide strong fraud protection and liability limits. Only provide your credit card details on secured payment checkout pages of retailer websites after verifying their authenticity.

Pick Up Orders at Local Stores

If possible, choose in-store pickup at nearby retailer locations. Not only does this avoid potential shipping delays or theft, but you can inspect the merchandise before taking it home.

Be sure to:

  • Select a convenient and public location to pick up your order.
  • Only pay at pickup once you have verified your order.
  • Save all documentation showing order information and guaranteed pricing.

In this way, you can verify your purchases and avoid paying for items before receiving them.

Social Media Scams

Social media scams should always be taken seriously. To steal data and money, scammers create believable offers to drive purchases, sign-ups, and clicks on these platforms. Being cautious of these black Friday scams and verifying offers are keys to staying safe during this time.

Fake Coupons and Vouchers

Some scam posts offer coupons that claim you can get popular items for free or at a huge discount. However, when you click the links, you risk being directed to phishing sites or could unknowingly download malware.

Stick to retailer websites and emails for genuine promotional offers. If an offer seems too good to be true on social media, it probably is.

Prize and Gift Card Scams

During the holidays, you may see posts offering free gift cards or prizes if you click a link or provide your details. These almost always lead to identity theft or signing up for schemes to steal your hard earned money. 

Do your best to avoid clicking on random contests and offers. Stick to gift card offers directly from major retailers you already deal with. This is one of the many things you can do for your business to protect your company against black Friday scams.

Monitor Bank and Credit Card Statements

Keep a close eye on your financial accounts during the Black Friday and holiday shopping season. If you do fall victim to a scam, promptly reporting fraudulent charges or transactions can help limit the damage.

Some signs of scam purchases include the following:

  • Unknown charges from unfamiliar online shops.
  • Multiple small charges adding up to much larger amounts.
  • Spike in charges from online services you have never used.

Regularly reviewing statements and reporting issues quickly as possible are your best lines of defense against scams impacting your finances.

Buy from shops you have heard of

We highly recommend buying from brands you know. Be very wary of online shops that you haven’t heard of, especially if the offer is too good to be true. Apply the tips mentioned above regarding checking the URL is legitimate. Look for the “https” in the URL and a lock icon. It may even be worthwhile to perform a Google search regarding the authenticity of the company.

In conclusion, Black Friday presents shoppers with lots of deals and opportunities for savings. But unfortunately, the more shoppers there are looking for bargains, the more scammers will be out taking advantage. Keeping these tips in mind will help you spot and avoid the most common retail scams this season so you can shop safely. Protect your identity, data, money, and personal information when deal hunting.