Nov 22 10:44 AM

Shoppers are “prime pickings” for cybercriminals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the UK’s Cyber Intelligence Unit ‘National Cyber Security Center’ has warned. The NSCS warning on possible cyber-attacks comes at the right time when trade analysts expect billions of money to be spent by shoppers in this season.

In the run-up to Black Friday, you may find your inbox and social media feeds full of promotions that promise great deals and savings - and it can be hard to differentiate between the real bargains and the dodgy ones. It is up to you to protect your business by making sure you and your employees know how to spot something suspicious and how to deal with it.

"Staying safe online doesn't require deep technical knowledge, and we want the whole country to know that the NCSC speaks the same language as them," said Mr Levy, the cyber-defence agency's technical director.

How to spot a Black Friday scam

Can you spot a Black Friday scam? How do you know if an online store is legit? How can you avoid fake sales? Here are a few of the things to look out for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Suspicious Social Media Deals

Social media scams can come in all shapes and sizes, and many are hard to spot as being a scam. One scam that is popping up a lot recently is fake vouchers, shared as a link on Facebook.

In a recent scam, cybercriminals posted fake vouchers on social media branded as Supermarket giant Tesco, accompanied by the text: "Tesco has announced that everyone who shares this link will be sent a £50 coupon for its anniversary. TODAY ONLY". People who fell victim for the ploy found, once they enter their card details, that the 'seller' will have their money and no voucher was sent in return. Be especially vigilant of these types of scams around Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

Check the website name

If you’re searching for a great deal and stumble upon a website that is offering products at unbelievably low prices. Then it may be too good to be true. Ask yourself; do you recognise the website? Trust the retailer? Is the price just too tempting? If the URL does not include the organization's exact name, or if it looks suspicious in any other way then you are probably not on a verified website.

When signing up to official retailers o secure websites ensure that you choose strong passwords which are alpha-numeric and include at least one special character and a single uppercase letter.

Citizens Advice says more than 13,000 people reported issues with online marketplaces in 2017, being hit by an average loss of £215, suggesting that an increasing number of customers are being duped online.

Beware email scams

Phishing emails are designed to look like they were sent from a legitimate company, such as your bank or the retailer you shop frequently from. They’ll ask to verify your details, which can be exploited once in their hands. Black Friday is the prime time for Cyber Criminals to send phishing attacks.

Be wary of links in emails and texts on WhatsApp, only shop on sites that you and delete any emails that look suspicious. Remember to look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check the domain name to ensure there's an 's' on the end of 'http' which indicates the site is secure. You can read more about How to Spot A Phishing Email scam here.

Don’t get caught out this Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Data breaches cost firms an average of £3m, according to a report by IBM. Can you afford to be caught out by a Black Friday scam? We offer Webroot Training so businesses minimise the impact of cyberattacks that exploit end-users. Find out more.

Written by

Patrick Cassidy

Managing Director

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