Don’t let Christmas come early for cyber criminals this Black Friday.

Don’t let Christmas come early for cyber criminals this Black Friday.

Cyber crime is on the increase across Black Friday and Cyber Monday as criminals take advantage of the sale season offers that flood our TV, laptop, and smartphone screens.

Every year on the last Friday in November, retailers prepare to convince shoppers to spend their earnings with the promise of heavily reduced discounts in time for Christmas. Cyber criminals also profit from this annual event, with £2.5m stolen from UK shoppers in 2020 alone across Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Most people see an increase in scam emails across this time period, and this will be no different for those who are accessing care services. Staff working closely with vulnerable adults in care should be aware of the cyber-crimes that take place around Black Friday, and feel able to support their clients by having conversations about what to look out for and how to stay safe online.

If you are a registered manager of a care service, it’s worth briefing your staff on this in the run up to Black Friday so they know what types of cyber crime take place and can advise clients on how to prevent themselves from becoming a victim. We’ve compiled a list of the different scams that are known to happen and some tips on how to stay safe.

What types of scams happen on Black Friday?

  • Phishing attacks – when a cyber criminal contacts you about an offer online i.e. email, text and social media. They will assume the identity of a trustworthy source to trap you into providing personal information or clicking on a malicious link.
  • Fake delivery scam – a type of phishing attack that increases during Black Friday. Criminals will send fake delivery notifications disguised as reliable delivery sources inviting you to click on a link that will steal your personal information.
  • Gift card scams – cyber criminals will ask you to pay using a gift card at the checkout instead of a debit or credit card. This is because gift card purchases cannot be tracked and make it impossible for you to get your money back.
  • Copycat websites – Another type of phishing scam, criminals set up copycat websites of well-known brands that can look almost identical.
  • Fake celebrity endorsements – Cyber criminals will use fake celebrity endorsements on websites in attempts to come across as reliable and trustworthy to consumers who may not have used the website before.

Tips for staying safe online during Black Friday

  • Stick to reputable sellers when shopping online. Don’t click on links that you receive in the body of emails and text messages. Instead, search for the brand directly on a web browser to ensure you are accessing a legitimate website.
  • Check sender addresses and URLs carefully. At a first glance it will appear to be from a reputable source but on closer inspection you may notice changes such as small spelling mistakes or font changes.
  • Avoid any websites that specifically ask you to pay with a gift card.
  • Use payment methods that offer buyer protection, such as a credit card, as most will assist you in getting your money back if you fall victim to fraud.
  • Use two factor authentication for your accounts. This adds an extra layer of protection which sends a one-time use code to another on of your devices to verify your identity. It will make it difficult for a hacker to access your personal information if they steal your password.


Further information


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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