As Christmas and the year’s end comes into view, cybercriminals are gearing up for one of their favourite times of year as they seek to exploit online bargain hunters and gift shoppers.
Last year, UK shoppers spent billions of pounds as they took advantage of the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. With so many people taking to the internet to snag a bargain cybercriminals will seek to take advantage.
In the run-up to Christmas, every retailer and their dog will begin to bombard those on their (hopefully GDPR compliant) mailing lists with the latest bargains and this is a perfect opportunity for scammers. Typically, a scam email is pretty easy to spot as they are often riddled with spelling and grammar errors, however, some are very well made and the only way to tell the difference from a legit one can be tiny. Before clicking on any links in the email it’s best to check that an offer is legit. The best way to do this is to do some research. If the email is supposedly from a big-name retailer you can simply search their site for the offer. If it’s not listed then the alarm bells should start ringing.
With some of the sales deals offering 50% off it can be tough to figure what offer is legitimate and what isn’t. To avoid this, only shop on websites that you trust. Shoppers scouting around for cheap deals may be tempted to use other sites but this could lead to them ending up on scam websites. It’s best to stick to reputable, well-known companies.
Whether they come in a phishing email or via a link on a dodgy website, malware is a major threat during the sales period. To reduce the risks, ensure that your devices have the latest patches installed and that your anti-virus is up to date. You should also run a scan of your device after you’ve finished your shopping binge just in case anything untoward did sneak through.
Black Friday takes place November 23rd and Cyber Monday on November 26th