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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.

Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
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Forrest86942
Scott77115
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Washington5849
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Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
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Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
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Panola3506
Newton3399
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Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
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Winston2616
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Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
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Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
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DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
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Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
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Perry1771
Henry1343
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