Three Scams to Avoid on Black Friday
Three Scams to Avoid on Black Friday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays are almost here and consumers shopping for the winter holidays should be on the lookout for not just the amazing deals but also the online scams.
A Surge in Sales is Expected this Year
According to Adobe, U.S. sales online are expected to hit a record of a 10% jump over 2020, a year in which the Covid pandemic pushed more consumers to shop digitally. This will amount to $207 billion this holiday shopping season, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 3.
Adobe estimates that Cyber weekend — the period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday — will draw about 17% of all sales this holiday season.
Seventy-five percent of American adults anticipate their e-commerce through big retailers like Amazon or Walmart will be similar to or increase relative to the 2020 holiday season, according to a recent AARP survey.
Criminals Will Likely Take Advantage of The High Volume
Criminals will likely try to take advantage of the high volume of buyers, and of unwary consumers.
Online shopping accounted for about 58,000 Covid-related consumer fraud reports from January 2020 to Oct. 18 this year, more than any other category of fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers lost a total $48 million.
“We are entering a sensitive holiday and tax period, and we urge people to protect their personal information,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Friday in an alert, which warned of potential identity thieves using that data to file fraudulent tax returns.
Three Scams to Avoid on This Year’s Holiday
Given below are 3 common types of scams to expect this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Fraudsters are likely to use bogus websites to offer deals on products that are out of stock, according to Social Catfish, an online security site.
This may likely be on the higher side than past years due to supply-chain issues and higher prices for some goods. Prices are expected to increase by 9% during Cyber Week, on average, in 2021 relative to 2020, according to Adobe.
“Out-of-stock notifications have remained high throughout 2021 and will remain a challenge over the season,” Adobe said in its annual holiday shopping forecast.
Signs to note about a fraudulent deal or a fake site are, a fake site’s domain name will have an extraneous letter or number, and the site may have grammatical errors or limited contact information, according to Social Catfish.
Consumers should research unfamiliar companies and read customer reviews, or search for the company name online along with the word “scam,” Social Catfish advised. Also, don’t buy a product via wire transfer, money order, or gift card.
Social Media Scams
Another type of scam to be aware of is the ones portrayed through social media. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are “becoming hotbeds for deception.
The platforms have amplified harmful content during the pandemic, the federal agency said.
Around the holidays, brands and influencers typically offer free product giveaways on Instagram, according to Social Catfish. Scammers may advertise the chance to win a holiday prize but include malicious links in Instagram posts and steal consumers’ personal data.
About 38% of consumers reported making a purchase in the past 12 months by clicking on a social media ad — which could lead them to a cloned site of a legitimate store or download malicious software onto one’s device, according to AARP.
Consumers should be wary of social media accounts without a blue checkmark (platforms use these to verify a real page from copycats) and watch for typos and accounts with little other content, according to Social Catfish.
Missing Package Scam
Consumers aren’t completely safe even after buying something — product delivery is also fertile ground for fraud.
Scammers may pretend to be from popular firms like FedEx or another shipping firm, sending a text or e-mail with a link to track the package, according to Social Catfish. But clicking the link gives the criminals access to customers’ personal and financial information. Fraudsters may also leave voicemails or place a “missed delivery” tag on a consumer’s door with a number to call to verify their information.
About a third of adults have received a fake notification from someone saying they are from USPS, FedEx, or UPS about a shipment issue, according to AARP.
Never click a link or call back a number from an unexpected delivery notice, Social Catfish cautioned. Contact the company directly using a verified number or website.
It is very important that we are aware and conscious of these scams as the Black Friday and Cyber holidays approaches to prevent falling victims of them.