5 ways to protect yourself against scams during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
For all of you bargain hunters out there or the people who just get pulled in by the flurry of discounts and offers at this time of year and make purchases they don’t necessarily need- this one is for you. Your inbox is most likely already full with incredible deals – some of which will be legitimate, but some will be seeking more than just your purchase. Can you identify the difference? Read on….
1. Don’t click links in your email
Black Friday offer 80% off – get your one time only offer by entering your details here! Look familiar? This could be a phishing email, designed to emulate the look and feel of a brand but include a link to a false portal asking for personal information. Email is the number one way cybercrime of all form happens. Tip: If you get a tempting promotion, go directly to the website, via a browser. Find out how to spot a phishing email here.
2. Diversify your passwords, especially for your important accounts!
The top 5 most popular passwords used in 2020…..are…..wait for it…….123456, 123456789, picture1, password and 12345678.
Hackers take advantage of people resuing usernames (often their email address) and password combinations across different accounts – this is known as Credential Stuffing. With ‘password’, and ‘12345’ being in the top 5 most uses passwords in 2020, this is all too easy for hackers. The importance of creating a strong password and using different credentials across your accounts is even more prevalent around targetted yearly events, such as Black Friday when there are increased marketing, spending and online activity. Here are some top tip on creating strong passwords.
Did you know?
There are strict obligations on companies to report data breaches in a timely manner. These reports, plus analysis of hacked data that’s been made available online, and the work of so-called ‘white hat’ (good guy) hackers, means there are resources to help you find out if any of your accounts have been compromised in a data hack.
Have I Been Pwned? Let’s check…
The best resource is to look on a site called haveibeenpwned.com and input your email address. Go on – try it now. If you don’t hit a match you are in the minority.
3. Check the website name – fake websites
Cloned websites are one of the most common tricks used by cybercriminals. They create websites that look like a well-known retailer to trick the user into thinking they are shopping on a legitimate website. The differences can be subtle compared to the genuine website, so look out for functionality not working, spelling mistakes, no contacts details or images been low quality. So if you come across an unbelievably low price, then it may be too good to be true! Ask yourself; do you recognise the website? What is your gut saying? Is the price just too tempting? If the URL does not include the organisation’s exact name or the site doesn’t have a secured certificate (https), proceed with caution. Go through some of these checks before you make the purchase and enter your personal and card details.
4. Avoid pop-ups and ads
Malware and viruses are not just delivered across email. They are across the Internet in the form of pop-ups and advertisements — these are actually referred to as malvertising or malicious advertising.
These types of ads can send you to sites that ask for your information, but they can also infect your device with a wide variety of harmful programming such as adware, spyware and ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your computer (or the data that is stored on it). The computer itself may become locked, or the data on it might be stolen, deleted or encrypted. Hackers request payment in order to get access back to your computer of files.
5. Back to nature – your animal instinct, feeling or gut
Use your hardwired human behaviour in detecting a scam, whether it’s your instincts, your gut or just feeling that it doesn’t seem quite right. If the deal is just too good to be true – 50% off all Apple Products for instance or the promotion is asking you to enter personal details or the email/website doesn’t feel professional; just walk away! Trust yourself on this, there are many other offers and deals around that will appear more above-board; feel more right and in line with the rest of the market. Trust your gut and go get that deal!