Friday 26th November is Black Friday, which sees both physical and online shops offer large discounts ahead of the holiday season.
With COVID still very much here, many of us will be buying our presents online, so here are some ways you can protect yourself this Black Friday.
Staying safe on Black Friday: Our tips
- Be suspicious of emails claiming to be from stores, especially if they ask for login details and/or supply you with links which look different to the URL you’re most familiar with. Spelling mistakes aren’t always a sign of a scam, but on the other hand, most businesses use proof-read templates, so errors are unusual. Similarly, HTTPS doesn’t mean the site is legitimate; only that data entered can’t be easily snooped by third parties. Pretty much anyone can get a free HTTPS certificate these days, so it’s not a sure-fire sign of legitimacy either way.
- Use a credit card if possible, as it’s generally the safer option online. Debit cards tied to your bank account are often more problematic when dealing with a scam situation—the money immediately leaves your account and it can be more difficult to get it back than with a credit card.
- Scammers may direct you to malware-laden sites or try to compromise legitimate sites in the run-up to Black Friday. Make sure your operating system is up to date, your security software is running the latest version, and you’ve got all the in-browser plugin protection you need before heading off to the virtual shopping races.
- Watch out for shortened links on social media, as they may be hiding nasty surprises.
- Don’t fall for “retweet/share to win a prize” tricks. Any giveaway is a tempting prospect but you’ll want to ensure the account running the promotion is legit. Do they have a verified presence on the social media platform? If not, how familiar with the account are you generally? Social etiquette top tip: some of your audience won’t like lots of competitions and raffles dropped into their curated timelines. Do them and yourself a favour, consider running a standalone account just for competitions. They’ll appreciate you not spamming their feed, and if you do end up retweeting something bad, you’ll be massively reducing its reach.
Further resources for keeping yourself secure
Here are some blogs you may find useful to help with the above tips.
- Avoiding dubious downloads: Nobody needs drive-bys or malicious software on their devices
- When scammers go farming: See how that hot social media offer is propelled into the scam-o-sphere.
- Phishy phones: Staying safe on mobile.
- Wrong number: How to fight back against callers you’d rather not entertain.
- The 2FA rundown: Why you’re better off enabling it.
- If it’s all too much: We get it, you’re pushed for time. That’s not a problem.
Our very own Black Friday discount
It would be remiss in an article about safely shopping on Black Friday, not to mention that Malwarebytes is offering a Black Friday discount itself. You can save 60% on Malwarebytes Premium and 50% on Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy.
Whatever you do this Black Friday, we wish you safe and secure shopping for both Black Friday and beyond.