Watch out for these Black Friday shopping scams

The holidays are the perfect time for shoppers to hunt for a good deal. It's also a prime opportunity for bad actors to scam consumers.Hundreds of mal...

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 2:25 PM

The holidays are the perfect time for shoppers to hunt for a good deal. It's also a prime opportunity for bad actors to scam consumers.

Hundreds of malicious Black Friday apps and websites will be looking to steal personal data and credit card information this year in the United States and United Kingdom, according to a new report from cybersecurity company RiskIQ.

Cybercriminals create fake mobile apps and landing pages with realistic branding, especially around major holidays and events like Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. They want to convince consumers to download bad apps or visit bogus sites and ultimately "phish" for sensitive data.

A scam circulating on popular messaging platform WhatsApp ahead of Black Friday promises 99%-off discounts on Amazon.com. On Twitter, Amazon's official help account wrote: "Please don't share your order/account/personal details in such websites."

Consumers are especially vulnerable when shopping on smartphones.

Mobile browsers have a much shorter address field, and consumers may not see the full URL on their phone. This makes it harder to spot a scam.

According to marketing firm Criteo, over 40% of all sales in November and December 2017 were made on mobile phones, and the trend is only expected to grow.

Steve Ginty, senior product manager at RiskIQ, says to check that the website has a valid "HTTPS" connection with a lock symbol, not "HTTP," which is vulnerable to attacks.

Users should also be careful when downloading apps. Bogus holiday deal apps made by scammers can fool users into typing in their credit card information, while other apps feature malware that can steal personal data or lock a smartphone until the user pays a ransom fee.

According to RiskIQ's recent report, 5.5% out of the 4,324 Black Friday-related apps on global app stores are deemed malicious and unsafe, and 4.6% of Cyber Monday apps are malicious. The firm recommends scrutinizing who developed the app, and only downloading apps from official app stores like Apple and Google.

Yair Levy, a cybersecutity and information systems expert at Nova Southeastern University, says to only shop with retailers you trust.

"Don't try to look for offers that are too good to be true. At the end of the day, that's what they are," he said.

Levy also suggests having a credit card dedicated to online shopping. This makes it easier to track purchases and identify fraudulent activity.

Shoppers should be wary of email deals, too. Phishing emails can look similar to those sent by top retailers, and consumers should ignore or delete these emails, no matter how good a deal seems. Cybersecurity company BullGuard says the aim of these fraudsters is to get consumers to click on a link within the email, and enter their personal information.

Some experts anticipate more scam activity this holiday season than last year.

"Every year we see this growing significantly," said Levy. "Why? Because it becomes more successful. Every year more people shop online."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515208

Reported Deaths: 10290
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34981557
DeSoto33342432
Hinds32718643
Jackson24896391
Rankin22553404
Lee16439245
Madison14949283
Jones14155248
Forrest13829260
Lauderdale12305324
Lowndes11348193
Lamar10687140
Pearl River9739244
Lafayette8867143
Hancock7847132
Washington7555169
Oktibbeha7228138
Monroe7055179
Pontotoc7026110
Warren6883178
Panola6783135
Neshoba6740210
Marshall6705142
Bolivar6468151
Union642898
Pike5941157
Alcorn5912107
Lincoln5539136
George510680
Prentiss507785
Tippah495483
Itawamba4877107
Scott478799
Adams4775125
Tate4774117
Leflore4747144
Copiah458095
Yazoo457892
Simpson4565117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4318106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4243109
Leake414090
Newton396082
Tishomingo386194
Grenada3786109
Stone365966
Jasper341266
Attala339590
Winston317992
Chickasaw317667
Clay312778
Clarke301695
Calhoun286349
Holmes272589
Smith269952
Yalobusha244647
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220241
Perry214456
Amite210257
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175241
Jefferson Davis174043
Tunica163539
Benton153239
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134639
Humphreys132239
Franklin126430
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847064

Reported Deaths: 16157
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163702006
Mobile743001381
Madison53394737
Shelby38395371
Baldwin38140589
Tuscaloosa36096642
Montgomery34535782
Lee25639264
Calhoun22620519
Morgan22503408
Etowah20043520
Marshall18812317
Houston17754425
St. Clair16928358
Limestone16178220
Cullman16113304
Elmore15927295
Lauderdale15042307
Talladega14234301
DeKalb13033270
Walker12119380
Blount10756193
Autauga10531157
Jackson10191195
Coffee9431192
Colbert9356210
Dale9035192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell709665
Chilton7077170
Escambia6961144
Covington6956195
Franklin6355108
Chambers5791142
Marion5428130
Dallas5299210
Pike5124109
Clarke485586
Lawrence4841130
Winston4784110
Geneva4649136
Bibb435294
Barbour370080
Butler3445101
Marengo342793
Monroe338066
Randolph337367
Pickens334689
Fayette331385
Henry320866
Cherokee319563
Hale318589
Crenshaw261577
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253355
Clay251669
Macon245465
Conecuh193262
Coosa185647
Lowndes178268
Wilcox178138
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130245
Choctaw93328
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