Commonly known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the annual shopping craze is almost upon us. A time of great deals and low prices, it’s also a time when scammers try their best to trick shoppers. And it’s getting easier as more and more shoppers choose to do their shopping online on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. According to CMO, online shoppers brought around $19.6 billion in revenue during the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in 2017. There is no doubt that this year, scammers will try to take advantage of this opportunity to scam as many people as possible. Shoppers need to be careful not only when shopping on websites, but on mobile apps as well, as they can also be used trick people.

Beware of fraudulent Black Friday Cyber Monday apps

Fake Black Friday apps

Smartphone apps can be a convenient way to shop online and find the best deals possible. There are entire apps dedicated to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but not all of them are legitimate. According to software company RiskIQ, out of 4,331 Black Friday-related mobile apps on global app stores more than 5% are fraudulent. They show deals that don’t actually exist, try to phish shoppers and attempt to steal payment card information.

“By setting up fake mobile apps and landing pages with fraudulent branding, they fool consumers into downloading unsafe apps and visiting pages that redirect them to other fraudulent or malicious sites,” RiskIQ says.

In addition to avoiding bogus apps, shoppers also need to be careful when downloading trusted Black Friday apps. Scammers will create apps that are almost identical to the popular ones, it may only be something as trivial as writing “rn” instead of the letter “m” in the app name that give them away. Fraudulent Black Friday and Cyber Monday apps would show fake deals, phish various accounts’ credentials and record payment card information, including card number, expiration date and CVV. RiskIQ also warns that scammers use known brand names in order to lure shoppers into installing fraudulent apps. Reportedly, the top brands on average have 17 fraudulent apps using their brand name in order to trick shoppers on Black Friday alone.

Safe online shopping on Black Friday 2018

Just to be on the safe side, shoppers should stick to trusted retailers when shopping online as around the time when Black Friday happens, a lot of fraudulent websites start appearing, tempting shoppers with seemingly great deals, particularly for known brand products. Same can be said about shopping apps. It’s important to always research apps before downloading them, even if they’re from official app stores like Google Play or Apple’s App store. Better yet, shoppers should stick to the apps they have successfully used in the past. This way, they will avoid fraudulent apps and not fall for fake deals. If shoppers choose to download new apps, they should only do so from official apps stores. While they are not 100% safe from fraudulent apps, they are still much safer than third-party stores which barely have any security.

One thing to remember, particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often tempt shoppers with huge discounts and great deals, but once payment has been made, scammers disappear with both the money and payment information. It’s recommended to always be skeptical of any kind of big discount, particularly on apps, as they have a high possibility of being fake. Furthermore, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is an increase in spam and phishing emails, promoting bogus deals and offers. It’s recommended to ignore such emails, and only trust known sellers. Messages promoting fraudulent deals and scams can also be posted on social media, so it’s recommended to be careful on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Another tip for shopping online not only on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but also in general, is to have a separate card just for that and only keep the necessary amount of money on it. This way, even if shoppers fall for a scam that steals card information, it would not do as much damage. It would also prevent shoppers from suffering serious financial consequences if the card was skimmed in an online store, or the store had a data breach.

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