Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not only popular with shoppers, but also with fraudsters. Here are 10 tips on how to protect yourself from such scams.
1. Beware of Fake Websites
Fake or imitation websites are the most popular method cybercriminals use to trick online consumers into falling for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams. Therefore, make sure to check the provider of the site. It’s best to enter the URL manually in your browser.
2. Beware of Phishing Emails
Manipulated emails are one of the most common methods cybercriminals use to gain access to your personal data and financial information. Attackers send phishing emails to trick online shoppers into clicking on a link that appears to be from a reputable retailer. For this reason, you should not click on any links (see 1.).
3. Watch Out for Pop-ups and Ads
Emails are not the only way for cybercriminals to lure you. Pop-ups and advertisements can also be used to spread malware. If you click on such malicious ads, you might be redirected directly to a fraudulent website or download malware to your device. Therefore, do not click on any ads!
4. Use Secure Websites
How can you check if a site is secure? Buy where you normally buy and hover your mouse over the URL and check the authenticity of the web address. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar and make sure the URL starts with “HTTPS://֨” and not “HTTP://”. The “S” indicates that the website is encrypted and secured with an SSL certificate.
5. Use Your Credit Card
It is recommended to use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online, as the former offer additional protection. PayPal and similar providers are also suitable, as money can be recovered in the event of fraud.
6. Use Unique, Strong Passwords
It is advisable to use unique and strong passwords for any online account. You can use a password manager to create unique and strong passwords for all your accounts and store them securely so you don’t have to remember them. Never use your e-banking or company account password.
7. Use a Secure Network (Wi-Fi)
When shopping online, make sure you use a secure Internet connection, either through your phone’s cellular network or a private Wi-Fi connection. Public Wi-Fi networks often do not require authentication to establish a network connection, allowing cybercriminals to gain direct access to devices on the same open network. In this way, hackers can steal sensitive information.
8. Keep Software and Antivirus Software Up to Date
Before you start looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, make sure that any software is up to date. This will prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your device through vulnerabilities in older and outdated systems.
9. Monitor Your Bank Accounts and Statements
Regularly check your bank statements to make sure that no unusual transactions have been made on your account. Cybercriminals hope that unusual debits from the account will go undetected.
10. Beware of Social Media Scams
Social media scams are very common on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cybercriminals use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post and trick online shoppers into liking, sharing and clicking on malicious links to their posts.
An article by Tobias Ellenberger, CEO Oneconsult.
The Oneconsult group of companies has been your renowned Swiss Cybersecurity Services Partner since 2003, with offices in Switzerland and Germany and 2000+ security projects completed worldwide.
Get expert advice from the owner-managed and vendor-independent cybersecurity specialist with 40+ highly qualified cybersecurity experts, including certified ethical hackers / penetration testers (OPST, OPSA, OSCP, OSCE, GXPN), IT forensic experts (GCFA, GCFE, GREM, GNFA), ISO Security Auditors (ISO 27001 Lead Auditor, ISO 27005 Risk Manager, ISO 27035 Incident Manager) and dedicated IT Security Researchers to tackle your most demanding information security challenges. Together, we address your external and internal threats such as malware infections, hacker attacks and APT, as well as digital fraud and data loss with core services such as penetration testing / ethical hacking, real-world APT testing and ISO 27001 security audits. In case of emergencies, you can count on the support of Oneconsult’s Digital Forensics & Incident Response (DFIR) expert team around the clock (24 h x 365 days).