Black Friday Scams to Watch Out For

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Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. In fact, most US retailers count on the holiday season to help make up for lost income throughout the year. With COVID-19 still in full swing, many people are turning to online shopping for their holiday needs – which means that there is plenty of opportunity for scammers to take advantage. Here are some scams to help you navigate the holiday season – for Black Friday and beyond!

Your Order Has Been Processed

You may receive a fake receipt confirming your “purchase” through Apple iTunes, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, or some other well-known site. The receipt looks official – but it’s just a phishing attempt! The scammer is trying to freak you out, thinking that your card was charged in error, and while you’re upset you won’t think things through and just click on a link in the email to contact company.

What you don’t realize is that by viewing an image in your email, there is data sent to the scammer to let them know that you opened and clicked on the email – so they now know that you have a legit email address that they can continue to spam in the future.

If you click on any links, those links may lead to a spoof site: One that looks like iTunes (or Amazon or Paypal, etc), and you’ll enter your login information into that site. Since it’s a fake site, you’ll actually be giving your login information to the scammers who built it! They can then now use that login information to make their own purchases.

It’s really simple to avoid this scam: Just be aware of the purchases that you make, and don’t click on any links in suspicious emails. Go directly to the website in question to make sure your account is in order.

Your Account Has Been Deactivated

You may receive an email that looks like it’s from your credit card company (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, or even PayPal) – but in reality this is just another phishing attempt. The scammers will create emails that look like they come from the actual credit card companies, and use language to make you feel like you won’t be able to do your holiday shopping due to credit limits and fraud attempts. There will be links in the email for you to click on so you can go to your account, or otherwise contact customer service to fix the errors. DON’T FALL FOR IT! Once again, these links will lead you to a spoof website where you enter in your real login information – but instead that info will go to the scammers!

Someone Sent You a Gift Card!

In this scam, you may receive an email that someone sent you a Gift Card – could be to Amazon or iTunes or any other store. Once again, it’s just a phishing attempt. In this example, the scam is for an Amazon Gift card. But, if you click on the link in the email, it will take you to a fake Amazon website, where you’re prompted to enter in your username and password. Of course, if you do so, the scammers will receive that information and will most likely go on a wonderful shopping spree, all thanks to you!

Whether your shopping for the holidays or even just in your day-to-day life, be sure to keep your eyes wide open for scamming attempts!

Have you received emails like these – or other scamming attempts? Let us know so we can help others protect themselves!

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