Black Friday is a minefield for shoppers and presents a huge opportunity for online criminals to scam unsuspecting Brits. Chris Price talks to Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and McAfee fellow about how to protect yourself from fraud…
With the pandemic seeing Brits tightening their purse strings this year, it’s likely many will be shopping more over the Black Friday event to bag themselves a bargain.
However, with more online purchases expected this year, bargain hunters need to remain vigilant before handing over their personal information when trying to get the best online deal. This year, in particular, online shoppers need to be wary of cybercriminals preying on their online activity.
McAfee’s recent research has revealed that three-quarters of Brits are concerned that COVID-19 means online scams will be more prevalent. Despite this, 4 in 10 Brits have not changed their online activity, opening themselves up to more risks and increasing their chances of being scammed.
Consumers should remember that if an advert for a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The same goes for emails and messages from retailers, even ones that you know and trust. McAfee’s research found that only a third (38%) of Brits admit that they check to see if Black Friday or Cyber Monday emails and text messages they’ve been sent are authentic and trustworthy.
Remember, online criminals can easily design identical emails posing as the brands you recognise in an attempt to trick you. If a great discount lands in your inbox, it’s best to check out the website directly, rather than clicking on any direct links you receive over email or text.
Below, you’ll find top tips from McAfee on how to shop safely
McAfee’s 7 top tips to shop safely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- Go to the source
One easy way to avoid counterfeit Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals is to go to the retailer’s website on your mobile browser.
- Avoid “too good to be true” deals
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we are all trying to save as much money as we can. But here’s the reality: if a deal seems too good to be true, it often is. These deals could be cybercriminals attempting to lure you in via phishing so that you cough up your personal data. Trust deals that are advertised directly from the vendor, and if you are unsure about their legitimacy, scan their site or call their support line for reassurance.
- Pay with a credit card
Credit cards overall offer better protection against financial fraud than debit cards. You will not be liable for fraudulent purchases and the thieves won’t be able to drain your bank account if they get hold of your account number. Any abnormal use of your credit card number will be automatically flagged or not approved by your bank.
- Always connect with caution
Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could unknowingly be exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network – almost like shouting your bank details out in a café. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.
- Employ multi-factor authentication
You can double-check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information.
- Browse with caution
By adding a security tool like McAfee WebAdvisor, the software will block malware and phishing sites via malicious links.
- Protect your identity
You can also protect important personal and financial details using software such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which also includes recovery tools should your identity be compromised.
2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper Survey
- Three-quarters (74%) of Brits are concerned that COVID-19 means that online scams will be more prevalent, but 42% do not change their online activity as a result.
- Almost three-quarters (74%) of millennials do not check whether Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals received via email or text are authentic and trusted before clicking
- Less than half (38%) of Brits check to see if Black Friday or Cyber Monday emails and text messages sent are authentic and trustworthy
- Over a fifth of Brits (21%) have fallen victim to a scam over the festive season, with 16% having lost over £100 as a result