Black Friday has traditionally been the day that ignites the holiday shopping season, sending masses of people into retailers across the nation. Unfortunately, it's also a day that spawns a season of shopping scams.
Here are six scams to watch out for on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season.
The Amazon Prime Service Fraud Scam
In this ruse, a scammer posing as an Amazon representative will call to notify a shopper about an alleged problem with their Prime account. The shopper is prompted to download a tool onto their computer or mobile device so the caller can gain remote access to "help them resolve the problem." They'll then be instructed to log onto their banking account to compensate the caller for their time. Unfortunately, this will give the scammer free reign over the shopper's accounts.
In these scams, the buyer receives an email allegedly sent by Amazon or another large retailer asking them to verify or update their account. They may also be asked to confirm an order. By using the link in the email, the user will give their personal information directly to the scammer.
Delivery scams generally involve messages that appear to be from UPS or another delivery service informing the shopper of a "delivery issue" with an order. The scammer will ask the shopper to confirm or update their information using a provided link. Doing so gives the scammer access to the shopper's financial information. It opens the door to identity theft and other scams.
In a non-delivery scam, a shopper will make an online purchase, and the promised package never arrives. After waiting a while, the shopper may try to contact the seller, only to find that the seller is gone, leaving them with no way of notifying them about the undelivered package or requesting a refund.
During Black Friday, scammers may exploit the heightened online shopping activity and eagerness for deals. The scammer will request payment via wire transfer, citing various reasons like limited-time offers, the need for a quick transaction, or issues with other forms of payment. Once money changes hands this way, it's nearly impossible to get it back.
Extreme Bogus Deals
An iPhone X for just $12? A pair of Ugg boots for $9? These deals sound too good to be true - because they are. Scammers will advertise unbelievable deals or promise high-demand items at incredibly low prices, only to deliver counterfeit or nonexistent items. Scammers may also attempt to distribute fake coupons or vouchers promising substantial discounts on products or services.
Avoid Black Friday Scams
- Never grant a stranger access to your device or accounts.
- Don't open links sent in emails from unverified contacts.
- Never share sensitive information with an unknown contact.
- Don't believe any advertised price that is ridiculously low.
- Keep the privacy and spam settings on your devices at their strongest settings.
- Never agree to an online purchase that demands payment via money order or wire transfer.
- If you have an issue with an ordered item, contact the retailer directly through their site.
- When shopping on a new site, look for a physical address, a customer service number and error-free copy.
Stay safe and check out our fraud prevention resources at AzuraCU.com/Security.