Dodge Black Friday scammers during your 2019 sale shopping spree
Online scams are on the rise – here's what you need to know to stay safe this Black Friday.
As Australians eagerly await the deals and discounts Black Friday and Cyber Monday will undoubtedly bring, we need to alert you to the potential threats and remind you of the precautionary actions you can take to protect yourself against online scammers before the sales begin.
There's no denying that this sale event is one of the biggest of the entire year, and right around the corner from Christmas which ultimately leads to a substantial rise in our spending. Online predators have noticed this too, making it the perfect opportunity for new scams to succeed.
In the past, we've seen scams such as fake gift cards, devious delivery scams, bogus travel deals, and links, pop-ups and adverts to products that don't actually exist. But this year, Australians look set to face a whole new niche of dangers as hardened cyber criminals have been investing both time and money in more sophisticated resources to aid in their deceptive techniques.
Cyber crime is at an all-time high, and whilst we want you to take advantage of the amazing discounts and deals being offered by legitimate online retailers throughout the Black Friday event, we urge you to take precautionary measures to protect yourself during your sale shopping spree.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to fraud during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year:
- Shop at online stores you know. If you're familiar with a retailer and have ordered online there before without issue, you should be fine to shop there during the sales too. When trying out a new retailer for the first time, do your homework. Read reviews and check for an SSL certificate (usually located at the bottom of the website's homepage). If in doubt, check out our list of partnering retailers. All of the stores we work with are genuine and secure online shopping portals.
- Avoid any non-secure URLs. Check for HTTPS in the website address as opposed to HTTP. The S verifies a platform is secure, meaning that all the sensitive data you supply is secure and encrypted, and only the retailer can access it.
- Be wary of marketing emails. Watch out for junk mail masquerading as legitimate marketing emails. Avoid clicking the links in any emails you do receive, and instead enter the website's URL in your Internet search bar to visit the retailer advertising the offer.
- Steer clear of web ads that redirect you to an alternate platform. If you're drawn in by a deal or discount on an advert, pay attention to where said ad redirects you. Always keep an eye on the URL and watch out (again) for any non-secure sites.
- Don't shop using public Wi-Fi. By entering personal and sensitive data whilst using a public network, you're opening yourself up to the threat of identity theft. The majority of Wi-Fi hotspots don't encrypt the info you enter, meaning that your details can easily be picked up by online predators.
- Report any suspicious activity immediately. If you notice a discrepancy on your account, contact your card issuer to report it straight away. And if you feel you've fallen victim to a scam, check out our guide for everything you need to do and who to report it to.
- If in doubt, get out. If you feel that a retailer is requesting too many personal details during the checkout process, or you simply get a feeling that something isn't quite right, do yourself a favour and choose an alternate retailer. A good deal is only a good deal until it isn't real.