Beware of online payment scams during the Black Friday shopping season


Digital retailers make your holiday shopping easier: you can buy what you need in pajamas on your couch if you want.

But it also comes with its own unique risks. Digital payment fraud has been on the rise, with criminals paying close attention to the Black Friday shopping season.

“The total number of financial phishing attempts targeting electronic payment systems more than doubled from September 2021 (627,560) to October 2021 (1,935,905), showing a 208% increase,” according to a to study by online security company Kapersky.

These numbers are actually somewhat modest compared to what SEON Technologies, a fraud prevention and detection API, found last year.

“As a fraud team, we can see a lot of online shopping happening and fraudsters taking advantage of it. In the last year alone there has been a 385% increase in fraud attempts in [our] network, self-proclaimed SEON fraud fighter Robert Kormoczi in an email to TheStreet.

Fraud is not always easy to spot

People trust big retail brands like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). This makes sense because hundreds of millions of Americans regularly use Amazon.com and its app, which builds trust in the brand.

This trust, however, can be exploited by people seeking to perpetrate online payment scams. Criminals often use well-known brands to lure people

“Amazon has always been the most popular decoy used by cybercriminals to launch phishing attacks. The second most popular was, for most of 2021, eBay, followed by Alibaba and Mercado Libre,” according to the Kapersky report.

Digital payment scams have increased as we approach the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

“The total number of financial phishing attempts targeting electronic payment systems more than doubled from September (627,560) to October (1,935,905) – a 208% increase,” according to Kapersky.

What can consumers do?

Avoiding scams requires vigilance and skepticism. You are not going to get scammed when you visit the Amazon website or app.

Instead, scammers use a variety of phishing tactics to trick consumers into thinking they are interacting with Amazon or another well-known and trusted retailer, when they are not buying or sharing information. sensitive where they think they are.

Kapersky presented some of these scenarios in his report:

One of the most common scams is to create a fake website offering great deals for popular shopping portals. Kaspersky researchers found such phishing pages for Walmart, eBay, Amazon, Alibaba and Mercado Libre in different languages.

In the example below, the user can supposedly win a special prize for completing a four-question survey. In fact, users end up giving away their personal data for free.

This is because these surveys often feature a lengthy registration form that asks users to fill in their credentials and, sometimes, credit card details. They are often asked to send the link to several friends afterwards, so that the scammers can reach more potential victims.

Scammers will also use tactics such as sending you emails that appear to be from Amazon or other credible retailers, telling you that your account has been locked or that your credit card information needs to be updated. People naturally want to fix these issues and may try to do so without wondering if they are being scammed.

There are simple ways to avoid this type of scam, according to FICO’s TJ Horan who posted a Press release with a number of security tips for online purchases.

“Double check before clicking on any text or email to confirm it’s genuine,” he wrote. “Look at the design, the copy, the spelling and of course the URL link provided to see if it is authentic. Better yet, navigate to the desired site yourself, without clicking on the link, to be sure to reach the real landing page.

Horan also suggests a healthy dose of skepticism. He points out that when a deal seems too good to be true, it often is.

“Everyone likes to think maybe they got lucky, but it’s worth pausing and checking in with your inner skeptic,” he wrote.

“Are your internet sleuthing skills really so good that you managed to find the very last item?” Scarcity is a persuasive tactic used by legitimate retailers but also by scammers. Remember that scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you least expect it.

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