Four top Black Friday scams 


Attention Black Friday enthusiasts, exercise caution! Cybercriminals are on the prowl, targeting bargain hunters aiming to seize great deals online in 2023. Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping extravaganzas of the year, is increasingly moving into the digital realm, becoming a prime opportunity for hackers to capitalize on. This day, following the US Thanksgiving, entices exclusive deals, substantial discounts, and fervent shopping sprees.

Given the surge in quests for the most sensational Black Friday deals, it’s imperative to warn shoppers about the looming threat of online scams. Stay alert for the top four anticipated fraudulent schemes leading to this year’s Black Friday.

Phishing attacks

The frequency of phishing attacks has skyrocketed, tripling since 2020, reaching a staggering one million in just the initial six months of 2022. Phishing involves scam artists using tailored and timely emails or texts to obtain sensitive data, including passwords, account details, and credit card numbers, among others.

When safeguarding against potential threats such as phishing, it’s crucial to adopt proactive measures. Refraining from clicking on any links embedded within emails is a fundamental step in protecting your sensitive information. Instead, in case of an issue or concern regarding your account or any services, take the initiative to access the company’s official website directly.

By manually entering the known, secure web address into your browser, you ensure that you’re navigating to a legitimate site and not falling victim to deceptive links sent through emails. This approach minimizes the risk of falling into the trap of fraudulent websites disguised to resemble authentic platforms. It’s a proactive strategy that can significantly reduce the likelihood of compromising your personal information and falling prey to phishing attempts.

Verification code hijacking

In code hijacking, hackers employ tactics to acquire your personal information by masquerading as familiar entities like your bank or other known companies. A fraudulent caller pretending to be a representative from a reputable organization might contact you, asserting an issue with your account. They’ll then send you a code through email or text, purportedly to verify your identification. However, inputting this code inadvertently grants unauthorized access to your account, potentially allowing intruders to siphon off your funds.

To fortify your defences against such schemes, employing two-step authentication and crafting robust, unique passwords is pivotal. Should you encounter any suspicious activity, it’s crucial to terminate the call. To validate the authenticity of the request, independently contact the business using their official primary contact number. This simple yet effective approach can thwart potential cyber threats and ensure your information remains secure.

Venomous browser extensions

Cyber attackers often utilize various malevolent browser extensions to manipulate the settings of your web browser. These extensions, small software modules, can modify a browser’s functions, including the user interface, cookie handling, ad blocking, custom scripting, and web page layout.

Recognizing potentially harmful extensions is essential. An increase in spam and deceptive emails might signal the presence of a malicious extension on your device. In some cases, spyware introduced by hackers could surreptitiously add extensions to your system without your knowledge.

It’s prudent to exercise caution, especially when considering browser add-ons offering Black Friday shopping discounts. Installing such extensions might pose a security risk. Therefore, it’s advisable to be discerning about the extensions you add to your browser to mitigate potential vulnerabilities and safeguard your online security.

Unheard of websites

Ensure you verify the legitimacy of any websites you visit, especially those offering Black Friday discounts. If you’re unfamiliar with a site, research it to validate its credibility. Some websites may falsely assert authenticity by showcasing social media endorsements, but these, too, could be compromised by Black Friday hackers.

When navigating social media, it’s crucial to stay vigilant against online fraud. Taking additional precautions to protect your account’s privacy is essential for maintaining security. By remaining cautious and implementing extra measures, you can better safeguard your online presence.

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Terry Cutler

I’m Terry Cutler, the creator of Internet Safety University, an educational system helping to defend corporations and individuals against growing cyber threats. I’m a federal government-cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the founder of Cyology Labs, a first-line security defence firm headquartered in Montréal, Canada. In 2020, I wrote a bestselling book about the secrets of internet safety from the viewpoint of an ethical hacker. I’m a frequent contributor to National & Global media coverage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and social network dangers families and individuals face daily.