The biggest sales event of the year means big bucks for retail as millions of deal hunters dig into their wallets to snag the best deals, both in-store and online.
With holiday spending expected to top $1 trillion, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers also need to get ready to thwart opportunistic cybercriminals and scammers who aim to ruin their shopping experience.
Black Friday is a lucrative day for cybercrooks to exploit the annual shopping frenzy by targeting unsuspecting consumers.
Here’s what to expect during the busiest shopping event of the year:
- Unsolicited emails (spam and phishing) that promise you huge savings, early access to deals or correspondence that urges you to verify your account details (passwords and credit card information)
- Identity thieves out to steal personally identifiable information and credit card info
- Phony delivery messages via email or text meant to steal your private data and break into your online accounts
- Scam websites and social media ads touting too-good-to-be-true deals
- Malicious websites and ads that infect your devices with spyware and credential-stealing Trojans
- Poorly secured or unsecured platforms that cybercriminals could exploit to steal financial information from shoppers
- Secure your online shopping accounts with unique passwords. Check them beforehand and enable two-factor authentication if possible
- Be aware of lookalike websites. Check the address bar for typos and look for poor grammar. If anything seems off, leave the website immediately
- Browse for deals on the platforms you know or shopped at before. If you’re shopping on an unfamiliar retailer website, use a virtual card or a third-party payment service instead of your credit card
- Normally, use a credit card for holiday purchases. This will allow you to easily dispute any fraudulent charges
- Only shop on platforms using HTTPS. You can check this in the URL field in your browser
- Before purchasing anything on a platform of a new business, check for complaints and bad customer reviews. Also never save your payment card details on a website you don’t trust
- Skip any too-good-too-be-true deals even if it is Black Friday
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to make purchases or do you banking. If you do need to connect to a public network, use a VPN to make sure that no malicious individuals can intercept your sensitive info
- Use a protected browser designed to keep your online banking, e-shopping and any other type of online transaction private and secure
- Install a security solution on your PC and smart devices to locally protect your data and ward off e-threats including fraudulent websites, malware and phishing attempts that could ruin your holiday
- Monitor your accounts and credit card statements for suspicious activity so you can put a stop to fraud and limit the chances of becoming an identity theft victim
Bitdefender safety tips for in-store shoppers
While in-store shopping dropped dramatically during the pandemic, 2021 saw a 47.5% increase after a dramatic reduction in physical Black Friday shopping between 2019 and 2020.
Crooks and identity thieves often hide in plain sight, in the real world. To ensure a safe shopping experience, stick to these recommended safety practices:
- Keep valuables with you at all times. If you don’t have a bag or purse, keep your wallet in an inside pocket so you don’t become a target for pickpockets
- If you’re paying with cash, don’t take out your money until you’ve reached the cash register
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card bills
- Place your goods in the trunk of your car after shopping
- Avoid using ATMs in poorly lit areas and always check to see if the machine has been tampered with before inserting your card
Are you worried about scammers abusing your personal information for financial gain on Black Friday?
Grab a Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection plan (available for the US only) for more peace of mind when dealing with identity theft and fraud.
Subscribers get real-time data breach monitoring, fraud monitoring, stolen wallet assistance, restoration services, and up to $2 million in identity theft insurance to help you cover legal fees and other costs for fixing your identity.
To protect your devices, financial information and digital life against ever-evolving email threats, check out Bitdefender security solutions. They are specifically designed to block new and existing online hazards, helping millions of individuals evade malicious websites and online scams with award-winning antimalware protection and advanced anti-fraud and anti-phishing filtering systems.
Keeping your e-shopping and e-banking transactions private and secure is easy with Bitdefender Safepay (available for Windows) - our dedicated protect browsers that:
- Blocks access to your desktop and any attempt to take snapshots of your screen
- Protects your secret passwords while browsing online with Password Manager
- Makes it impossible for hackers to read your keystrokes when using the integrated virtual keyboard
- Offers built-in hotspot protection that can be used when your device is connected to unsecured Wi-fi networks
Read more about our identity protection and privacy solutions here.
Stay Safe and Happy Shopping!