As the 2020 holiday season approaches, shoppers around the world are getting ready to receive annual Black Friday bonus offers from their favourite fashion, appliance and home appliance stores.
One of the most anticipated shopping events of the year will officially take place on the 27th. The month of November starts when thousands of retailers present their best offers online and in-store.
But Black Friday also marks a festive shopping season for cyber-idiots and crooks, who turn to enthusiastic online shoppers who rush to fill their virtual baskets with candy.
Online shopping like never before – this also applies to cybercriminals.
E-commerce developed strongly when a pandemic broke out at the beginning of this year and the health crisis changed consumer behaviour around the world. Twenty-two percent of consumers now shop more online than before the pandemic, and this figure is expected to increase during the holiday season.
More than 93 million shoppers made online purchases on Black Friday in 2019, with a 6.2% drop in store visits compared to 2018. Personal purchases are likely to reach record heights as retailers adapt their marketing systems to the degree of social distance.
With traders gradually publishing their plans for Black Friday 2020, it seems that the volume of purchases could increase this year, giving cybercriminals a great opportunity to attract potential victims.
According to a recent study, U.S. consumers should spend a total of $148.5 billion on Black Friday – an attractive figure for cybercriminals looking for big points. Retail phishing increased by 233% in 2019, suggesting that e-commerce retailers are the main targets of fake websites during the holiday season as they carefully prepare offers and coupons.
Many aggressive social media and email advertisements can encourage consumers to give up the red flag, making them even more vulnerable to phishing, billing and credit fraud.
Say goodbye to Friday’s black madness.
While it seems good to shop in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas, falling in love with the right offer can turn into a buyer’s mare.
Last year it turned out that cyber businesses are excellent social engineers, feeding on our fears, misinformation and speculation about the coronavirus. Your set of consumables will certainly shine even brighter this holiday season.
This year, pay particular attention to pre-arranged purchases, as cybercriminals could use the planning systems already installed by some retailers to avoid hectic queues in the light of the global health crisis. Please check the offer carefully before booking your seat to have the opportunity to buy early and get a big discount. The Covid-19 has residence restrictions, but stores can also offer a lottery system where the lucky winners get some time to shop in the store.
It is preferable to visit the seller’s official website before registering, paying for access to an exclusive store or providing personal information in an online form.
Scam artists are also taking advantage of the long-awaited release of the new PlayStation 5 consoles, to be launched on 12 March. November’s on sale. The Bitdefender anti-spam lab made a recording between the 29th and 30th of the month. In October 2020, the number of PS5 related emails increased, with more than 72% of all emails received on PlayStation being considered spam.
Follow the QR codes
The pandemic has also stimulated the use of QR codes, which have become very popular in recent years. It is estimated that 11 million households in the United States will not scan a QR code until 2020. Moreover, more than 18% of people in the United Kingdom and the United States have seen an increase in the use of QR codes since the introduction of social distance measures.
QR codes can be used in ads and promotions to direct customers to product websites where they can quickly add an item to their online shopping cart. Although this method is fast for the customer, attackers can create malicious QR codes and encrypt customizable payloads to redirect users to fake websites and steal personal information or install malware on the device.
Black Friday Bonanza Cyber Security Tips
- Stick to what you know and avoid clicking on links in emails or social networks that announce discounts and special offers from unknown traders. Check the grammar of each email you receive and hover your mouse over the link to make sure it leads to the official site. Phishing emails are the most popular tool used by fraudsters and a common way to steal personal and financial information.
- Use a secure network to view transactions and products. Approximately 82% of customers check their phone in the store before buying. So avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks or visiting bank websites, as cyber attacks can endanger the network.
- If possible, enable two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor (MFA) authentication for all your online accounts and financial transactions. This extra level of security can protect against fraud, even if the abuser has your data.
- Change the passwords for all your online accounts, especially those related to online purchases. This security measure can take a long time, but you still have time to check your accounts and set strong, hard to guess passwords. You can always use a special password manager to keep track of your login details.
- Provide credit card notifications to protect you from fraud by notifying you immediately of any suspicious or unusual charges. When your credit card details are used, you receive real-time notifications that make it easy to prevent fraudsters from causing financial damage that could ruin your holiday.
- Use the security solution on your devices as this is the first step to protect personal information locally. You can prevent malicious threats and ensure that your confidential data does not fall into the hands of cyber criminals.