Preparing for Black Friday Sales

Another year, another “Black Friday Crowds rampaging through Walmart” Youtube compilation for me to relax too while doing my online Christmas shopping! But for those of us who prefer to shop online and avoid the probability of being trampled to bits over a discounted microwave, there are still some big risks to consider.

Australians are seeing some of the largest damages from online scams to date, with reported losses of over $4 million in 2019 (a staggering $700k increase from 2018’s total losses). The amount of Australians who shop online has been steadily increasing every year, with the national average going up an ever further 20% in 2018, and cybercriminals are increasing their efforts accordingly. 

We recommend sharing these seven safety tips in the office to close out the week, especially for the colleague browsing 20+ tabs in search of the best deals:

  1. Don’t open PDF catalogues in emails. How many infected attachments does it take to cause a ransomware outbreak? Not many! Any deals/offers should be in the email itself, not hidden in a risky PDF.
  2. Watch out for fake websites in emails. If an email convinces you to shop at a particular store, dodge the risk of a scam email and just Google search the store directly for a safe link.
  3. Watch out for gift card scams. Gift cards are the recurring most popular item on wish lists, and attackers will often ask for payment via Gift Cards themselves. Don’t get stuck laundering money by mistake, or purchasing a dead card.
  4. Keep your money off of public Wi-Fi. The thing about public Wi-Fi is… it’s public. You don’t know who else is sitting on that network and monitoring your transactions. Switch to mobile data or wait until you’re home/at the office.
  5. Checkout using safe payment gateways. Have you ever seen those scams where a fake EFT reader is put onto an ATM to steal funds? Lately, scammers have been doing the same thing on website checkouts! They intercept your order and steal your card data using a tactic called e-skimming. Always check for https, or just stay safe using services like Paypal. 
  6. Switch to credit, or limit your spending account. If you must use a debit card, make sure it has a limited spend-per-day and transaction alerts set up with your bank.
  7. Classic advice: Don’t Click Popups. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it is. Hit that beautiful x button and move on. 

Did we get them all? What? “No” you say? Well, please leave a comment below! Let us know what you’ll be doing to stay safe online this Black Friday/Cyber Monday. 

Have a scam-free weekend people! 

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