It is that time of the year again when online scams reach new heights. These scammers will do anything in their power to trick you into clicking a link that will land your sensitive information in their hands. It could be your personal info or financial data such as usernames, credit card details, passwords, etc.
No matter how careful you are while shopping online, Black Friday scams are lurking on the web. But during this time, it brings out that shopaholic in us. You’d be willing to spend as you’ve never had!
Over a year ago, James McAvoy posted a story to his Instagram account citing how he was almost tricked into entering his information on a fake site. He was seeking to book a hotel until he noticed a slight discrepancy in the URL. It was somewhat different from the website which he assumed to be real. He got saved in time from being scammed.
Point being, fake online shopping websites are plentiful.
This article aims to equip you against online fraud so that you can practice shopping safely. We have prepared a list of scams that you should avoid at all costs.
1- Impersonation Scams
An impersonation scam may have different variations, for instance, someone calling you while pretending to be an employee or representative belonging to the government – policeman, immigration officer or a court official. The person might claim that your identity has been used for the transportation of weapons or for obtaining fake passports while threatening you of dire consequences if you do not give your personal information including, passport, bank account number or PIN code.
2- Loan Scams
Running low on finances and a low credit score can force you to accept just about any offer for a personal loan – a perfect opportunity for the scam artists to take advantage of and offer bogus personal loans through online ads.
The scam artists then, ask for some money as an upfront application fee to process your loan. You may also be asked to submit personal information such as date of birth, bank account number or social security number, which can be then used for identity theft or get access to your online accounts.
3- Credit-for-Sex Scams
If you have been contacted by a beautiful, young woman sporting an extremely chiseled body, appearing as a model in the pictures, beware, because this can be a scam. In this scam, a stranger befriends you through social media and tries to talk you into purchasing her gift cards, in exchange for sexual favors.
4- Internet Love Scams
When you befriend a seemingly harmless woman online, usually a foreigner, she may tell you her sob story of, how she fell into hard times or ran into trouble that, she can’t get out of. The person gains your trust and then seeks money as proof of love. When you fulfill this demand, she disappears, never to be heard from, again.
5- E-commerce Scams
E-commerce scams usually begin with someone making an inquiry into your products and then defrauding you through manipulation in the shipping arrangements or when it comes to the payment of the order. E-commerce scams can end up:
- Hurting your profits;
- Damaging your reputation
- Resulting in Negative Reviews
- Take up significant resources and time
How to avoid Black Friday scams and shop safely?
Now that the scams have been outlined, what can you do to exercise care and prevent becoming victims to them? Read on to find out.
Rely on trusted websites ONLY
To reiterate, the best thing you can do avoid Black Friday scams, as well as Cyber Monday scams, is to buy items from online retailers that you have shopped with previously. You can shop in the comfort that you won’t be scammed. It is imperative that online shopping frauds are avoided at all costs, or you’ll go bankrupt.
Guard your bank details with your life
Although banks have their own security system in place that detects any intrusions and unauthorized payments, you ought to be more careful when entering them on a site that appears too good to be true. Always use two-factor authentication or setup biometric verification when authorizing purchases to avoid online scams. Black Friday scams frequently people into giving up their bank account information and other financial details. Gaurd it.
Keep track of your transaction history
Keeping balances in check eliminates the risk of unauthorized billing or charges. Usually, banks and credit/debit cards shoot a message notifying the user of any purchase. If you are not getting them, get in touch with your provider immediately. Or if you learn of any unwanted transaction, call the bank’s helpline and report it so that timely action can be taken. Black Friday scams are not to be taken lightly.
Avoid shopping on public WiFi networks
The worst thing you can do is to shop on public WiFi networks. These can’t be trusted and for the most part, are ‘honeypots’ – a safe haven of hackers for tapping into people’s sensitive data. Once you connect you are authorizing the hacker to have a field day with your information.
Since online shopping scams are in abundance, pro tip: use a VPN to safeguard your privacy and possible identity theft.
Verify apps before downloading
We all know how there is an app for everything. That is equally true for shopping apps. Fake shopping apps are circulating on app stores. Therefore, check their credibility by looking for signs such as typo errors in the name or a low number of reviews. The cybersphere is riddled with Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams.
Stay secure and exercise care to steer clear of fake shopping websites list, folks!