Most Black Friday sales begin on Thanksgiving Day or before and continue throughout the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. Early November is when pre-Black Friday specials begin appearing; some even start as early as October. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the starts of the Christmas shopping season when shoppers look for the best deals on their holiday gifts.
Amazon is a platform where many small businesses and entrepreneurs sell their products. Sadly, hackers take advantage of the millions of people shopping online, especially on Amazon, the most popular platform for holiday shopping.
What you should know about Amazon’s fake store surveys
Many scammers target holiday shoppers by sending fake text messages that offer free products, discounts, or gift cards in exchange for completing a survey. These text message scams often pretend to be from well-known store chains, which ensure that it is a limited-time offer, so you need to make the survey right at the moment to win your prize. When you click the link, it will take you to a fake website where you will be asked to give your personal information in order to answer the survey, or it will automatically download malware on your device to steal your information.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
- Do not click on links in emails claiming to be from Amazon or any other online retailer.
- Be suspicious of any email with grammar or spelling errors.
- Ignore pop-ups that offer prize giveaways, especially if it sounds too good to be true.
- Never give away personal information in an online survey.
- Unsolicited text messages are usually from scammers.
- Limited offers could be a red flag. Scammers take advantage of the sense of urgency.
- Do some research, and look for links to the survey on the official business website.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams you need to watch out
Amazon is not the only big retailer hackers use to steal people. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, millions of businesses offer great deals through email, social media, ads, and text. However, some of them might be real others might be scams.
Here are some of the most common scams during Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
This is when scammers call people and pretend to be from a credible company like Amazon.
During these calls, the hacker convinces the victim to give personal information like your Social Security number or your bank account number. Also, they will encourage the victim to download a tool on their computer, but instead, they are installing malware to steal sensitive information.
These are fake emails that look like they are from a credible source but are not. They often contain typos or grammatical errors. Hackers know that businesses send more emails to their clients during the discount season and take advantage of the situation to send scams. There are different types of phishing emails you should be aware of:
- Account verifications scams: In this type of phishing scam, you will receive an email telling you, you need to verify your account because you have been hacked or you need to update your information. In this email, the hacker will provide a link to go directly to log in to your account. There, you will type your account information, and once you do it, the hacker will steal the data you provided.
- Order confirmation scams: Order confirmation emails are a great way to stay updated on your latest purchases. But be careful when clicking on links in these types of emails, as they can often lead to fake websites. If you enter your account, password or banking information on one of these sites, hackers will have access to all of it. So always check the URL before entering any sensitive data. You can identify it as a fake email because the hacker won’t provide any information about the order.
- Billing error scams: Scammers are looking for ways to generate fear in their targets. They’ll contact you and inform you that your payment data is incorrect, instructing you to correct it right away or miss out on your purchase. The sense of urgency they’re trying to create with a phony website that appears to be the real thing is precisely what they’re after.
Instant messaging scams:
As a result of their capacity to avoid one of the email’s most common problems – the spam folder, IM frauds are on the rise. Hackers take advantage of our natural tendency to respond quickly to texts rather than emails. You will be redirected to a phony website if you click on the link contained in one of these texts, and malware will likely be downloaded onto your phone, and you will lose privacy on your personal information.
Guardio is a Chrome extension that monitors suspicious activity and blocks hackers from stealing your data.
Don’t let the excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals override your common sense. Be extra careful when shopping online, especially on big retailers’ websites. Don’t click on any links in emails or texts unless you are confident they are legitimate. And most importantly, never give away personal information like your Social Security number or bank account number to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.