Chris Morgan, a senior cyber threat intelligence analyst at the cybersecurity data company Digital Shadows, commented on scammers who can take advantage of the sales during Black Friday in front of Euronews Next:
“You’ll see a big increase in the amount of sort of fake websites that are established during this time, trying to fish people out of their details.”
A big threat during Black Friday is the introduction of new fake websites masquerading as popular brands.
Don’t trust deals advertised on social media. Fake and fraudulent websites are often advertised on social media sites such as Facebook, which are not thoroughly checked before they are distributed to the user.
Morgan’s advice is to manually search for the retailer and the item through a search engine and navigate through the legitimate website itself.
If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Fake companies don’t just masquerade on social media. They could also be sending you emails with fraudulent links.
Another indicator is if the email is sent by an unknown source. Morgan’s biggest takeaway after researching the subject was that it’s important to check if the website is correct, which can be done by verifying if it has an ‘https’ at the start of the website address.
During Black Friday, the scams are mostly aimed at harvesting financial information so cybercriminals can get your credit card details and other personally identifiable information (PII) that’s going to be then sold onto trusted third parties. Once a purchase is made, you should also check your financial accounts to make sure there are no irregularities, as this is the time when things can go wrong.
Once the scammers take the money from your account, it is almost always converted into cryptocurrencies as it is harder to trace.
Morgan explained it can work in two ways. The first is using a cryptocurrency tumbler, which is basically a third party service that mixes cryptocurrency payments with a clean cryptocurrency before redistributing them.
Another way is using a technique called “chain hopping,” which is where you will buy a token such as Bitcoin and convert it into other tokens, such as Dogecoin. This can throw off any attempts of attribution as it creates a distance from the original transaction.