Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Scams

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, shoppers have a lot to look forward to this holiday season. But with holiday shopping comes something every shopper should watch out for. It’s an unfortunate fact, but this is also the season where scammers thrive.

There are several scams to watch out for, here are just a few of them and how to avoid them:

1.Free Best Buy Gift Card Scam: Last year, scammers were able to con many consumers by texting them that if they entered a code on a particular website, that they would receive a free $1,000 Best Buy gift card. One they did this, their computers ultimately ended up becoming infected and precious information compromised. The scam is likely to return this year so it’s important to be on the lookout for it.

2. Fake Ads and Coupons: Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge days for coupon-clippers, it’s important to verify whether coupons you cut are actually official and not the product of scammers looking to make an easy dollar off your trust. In this scam, a websites will offer you a free downloadable coupon. But what actually happens is they plant malware on your computer once you download the “coupon”. Steer clear of this scam by not downloading anything off of a website unless it’s a trusted source.

3. Fake eCards and Videos: These scams are not limited to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and can happen anytime during the holiday season.  In this scam, a phishing account on Twitter and Facebook, or possibly just an email account, will send you a holiday/shopping themed video. Once the content of this email is opened and downloaded, a virus is essentially planted onto the users computer and sensitive information and even a person’s identity can be stolen. Only open emails and downloads from trusted sources to avoid becoming a victim.

4. Internet Search scam: Even if you’re a savvy internet user, you can still fall victim to this scam. Basically, scammers will heavily promote a website related to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. They will use keywords like iPad, iPhone, PS4, and so on. These websites can often times end up on the first page of your search results and may look legit, but once you click on their website, malware/spyware can easily be installed onto the unsuspecting users name. The best way to avoid falling victim? Install antivirus software on your computer, and steer clear of any website that may seem suspicious.

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