Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day are upon us, prompting a major bank to urgently warn shoppers to stay safe from scams.
Thousands of online and in-store retailers worldwide will take part in the Black Friday sales, with massive discounts on everything from clothing to small appliances, supermarkets and travel.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has warned its customers to remain vigilant and be prepared for increased fraud activity.
In 2021, Scamwatch received more than 20,600 reports of online shopping scams, for a total reported loss of $8 million.
Compared to 2020, this was an increase of 9.5 percent.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe online on Friday.
To be too good to be true
Even if the prices come down at an incredible discount, it’s still worth comparing prices at other retailers.
“It’s a good idea to look at other websites to compare and research the deal making the offer before making the purchase,” said a NAB spokesman.
Is this a fake website?
If an online store’s website looks a bit fishy, it’s a good idea to do further research to confirm that it’s a legitimate store.
A couple of important giveaways are branding and image resolutions.
Some easy ways to do this include checking that the social media pages are legit and checking the refund policy.
A foolproof way to read an online store is to check the Google reviews.
If a website is a scam, chances are someone has already written about it.
“If you can’t tell if they’re genuine, it might be better to stick with a reputable store that you’re familiar with,” the NAB spokesman said.
“This is especially true if the online store is located abroad as there is no guarantee that you will get your money back if it turns out to be a scam.”
Be wary of pop-up ads
Ads that pop up on your screen while shopping online or using social media can be clever marketing tactics.
They can also be used to deliver malicious software and redirect you to shady websites or fake sales.
NAB recommends ensuring that virus software is up to date and includes a pop-up blocker.
Suspicious emails and SMS
Shoppers are warned to be on the lookout for suspicious emails and text messages.
If you receive an email or SMS with a sale, don’t click the link.
Criminals often use these methods to redirect people to fake websites so they can steal personal or financial information.
Instead, find the official website in your browser and shop there.
Avoid in-store WiFi
When shopping in store, avoid using the free in-store WiFi.
“Unfortunately, these connections are often insecure and are targeted by criminals to gain access to devices and data shared on this network,” said the NAB spokesman.
If you must use public WiFi, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to establish a secure connection.
Also, avoid online banking or online purchases while on public WiFi, as this information can be exposed and misused.
Originally published as NAB, issues a scam alert ahead of Black Friday sales