Excitement is soaring among the Americans as the Black Friday sale, the biggest sale in the US, is finally here. But along with an increase in excitement, there is also an increased chance of buyers getting scammed by fraudsters, who are looking to use this occasion as bait to trap consumers, especially on social networking sites.
While US sales online are expected to hit $207 billion this holiday season, over 17% of that is predicted to take place between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Scammers are using this as a delightful opportunity to lure in victims.
Research conducted by NatWest, a UK-based bank, revealed Facebook Marketplace is the most common platform being used by such fraudsters this Black Friday, the Daily Mail reports. The bank's research was carried out just a few days before shoppers are expected to flock online. It also revealed Facebook Marketplace is followed by Instagram, e-bay, and GumTree as the three other sites that buyers need to be careful about while shopping online this Black Friday.
Baits Being Used to Lure Victims
The most obvious trick involves the seller asking the buyer to pay via a bank transfer prior to the product arriving. This is the easiest way to hack your personal information and account details. Second is the too good to be true bait, where the availability and pricing of the product sound too good to be true, especially when no other website is able to promise you a similar deal on the same product. A few other ways used by scammers are sending fraudulent emails with captivating offers or using links as baits.
How to Avoid the Trap
Avoid clicking on random links or downloading files. This is the first and most basic measure buyers need to take while trying to purchase a product this Black Friday. Scrutinize the websites before you order and try and order only from sites that have a URL that begins with "https". The best way would be to shop directly from the website. If opting to use a card to make payments, go for a credit card with a low balance. Last but not the least, always try to use a private Wi-Fi connection while making such transactions.
It could be easy to lose track of precautions while shopping this Black Friday, with innumerable attractive deals to select from. However, making oneself aware of such scams can really go a long way to prevent oneself from falling into the traps of hackers who are always out on a hunt for cyber victims.