Shopping safely over Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost upon us. Let the shopping begin! However, the flurry of purchases and the data that they represent means cybercriminals will also be looking to cash in.

What are the risks?

As well as genuine retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday also bring out the fraudsters, who will be targeting shoppers through a barrage of emails, banner advertising, and social media posts.

Customers must ensure sites are legitimate before making a purchase, and they need to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. For example, a request for card or login details at any point other than at checkout is most likely a scam.

There is also an increased risk of phishing over the Black Friday period. If you’re on a PC, ensure your machine’s anti-malware software is up-to-date, but also look out for tell-tale signs such as mismatched URLs and misleading domain names in emails. The differences can be subtle, but they are there.

What can I do to stay safe?

It’s worth taking a few basic steps to reduce the risks of being targeted by cybercriminals.

  1. Remain vigilant and think about what you’re seeing. If an offer seems ‘unbelievable’, it probably is. If you receive emails from an unknown source with enticing subject lines, think before you open them. And never disclose your personal information.
  2. Use credit cards. Credit card companies often offer better fraud protection than debit card providers, and many don’t hold the cardholder liable for fraudulent purchases. Alternatively, consider using PayPal, which offers a dispute resolution service. If you’re buying in store, making cash purchases means your data won’t be processed on the shop’s POS (point-of-sale) system.
  3. Use secure websites. When buying online, only visit and transact on secure sites. These are easily identified by the padlock symbol next to the URL, and/or the https at the start of the URL (rather than just http). These two signs are indications that the site is safe to use.
  4. Monitor your financial statements. Even if you have taken the above steps, take the time to monitor your bank accounts. If there has been any fraudulent activity, you’ll want to flag it with your payment provider so that cards can be frozen and an investigation started.

Need more information?

All retailers that accept card payments are legally required to comply with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), which sets out a framework of best practices to keep card details secure.

In addition, the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) serves to protect individuals’ personal data. All organizations that capture, store and use personal data – which online retailers most certainly do – must treat that data appropriately. When purchasing, it is prudent to read the company’s privacy policy and terms and conditions so that you understand what data will be stored and how it will be used.

There are sure to be some great deals on Black Friday, and it’s human nature to want to grab a bargain, but tread carefully to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.

Black Friday is approaching! 

Get 10% off all of our products and 20% off all training courses. Hurry, the sale ends on Cyber Monday 11/26 at 11PM!  

Use code SAVE10 for all our products and SAVE20 for our training courses.

Get #BreachReady 

You can discover how to prepare for a data breach by visiting our #BreachReady page. We break the process down into six simple steps and recommend tools and services you can use to complete each task. 

Data Breach Assessment