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Black Friday Scams to Avoid

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(ModernSurvival.org) – Black Friday is arguably the biggest shopping day of the year. People line up in front of stores, waiting for a chance to score big deals when the doors finally open. For those who aren’t into shopping in person, online retailers have now joined the madness of Black Friday. With so much money being exchanged, it’s no surprise that scammers look to cash in on the spending spree.

Unfortunately, these criminals have become experts at ripping people off. Their tactics cover a wide range, making it important to recognize the methods they employ before getting scammed. Here’s what to watch out for:

Fake Websites

Major retailers put out notoriously big sales for Black Friday, including on their online retail sites. Scammers take advantage of this by creating fake websites that are near-perfect mirrors of their official counterparts. The goal is to lure customers into purchasing items from the fake websites — which means they’ll spend money on products they will never actually get.

Not only can scammers trick unknowing consumers into spending money; these websites also steal important information from victims. This information may include credit card numbers, passwords, and in some cases, even Social Security numbers.

Often, these websites can be identified by closely examining the address (URL). Most scam sites will use nearly identical addresses, with minor variations that are easy to overlook.

Email/Text Message

Text messages and emails asking for updated payment information are two ways scammers commonly cheat people. Again, these attempts appear to come from legitimate sources, such as big chain retailers like Amazon, Target, or Walmart.

According to Avanan, an online security company, recent attacks have come in the guise of outrageous Amazon receipts. The messages will link directly to the actual Amazon website. However, the phone number listed in the message will go to the scammers. When a victim calls to dispute a large order, the criminals request payment information to issue a refund or to “look up” the fake order. Just like that, the sneaky scammers have a person’s phone number and other sensitive information.

What makes this new scam so dangerous is that the email a victim receives contains legitimate links, which help it bypass spam filters. It also makes the email seem genuine even though it isn’t.

With all of this in mind, be extra careful this holiday season before placing any orders online or responding to questionable messages. For more information on how to avoid identity theft, check out our article on the subject here.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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