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Home / Tips and Tricks / 4 Fraud on Black Friday you should avoid in 2019: phishing, pyramid schemes and more

4 Fraud on Black Friday you should avoid in 2019: phishing, pyramid schemes and more


The key to protection is to remain vigilant.

James Martin / CNET

This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019 and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.

Today, thanksgiving, family, friends, and eating (or at least managing them – here is our survival guide for everything under the Thanksgiving sun .) Tomorrow, on Black Friday, it's all about shopping while you View the Best Black Friday Deals You Can Achieve Scammers seek ways to steal your money or, worse, your identity.

It is estimated that consumers spend over $ 29 billion online on Thanksgiving spending all this money means cybercriminals will be more concerned than ever about using malware against you and their trusted online retailers, and some hackers, like those who attacked Macy's last month, are attacking merchants' websites directly, to distract you from legitimate sellers and direct you to malicious websites or apps that are commonly known retailers like Amazon, Best Buy or Walma

RiskIQ, a security company, said there were nearly 1,000 malicious holiday-themed apps and more than 6,000 apps with names and slogans from popular retailers to expose unsuspecting victims. RiskIQ also claimed to have identified 65 malicious websites as popular retailers to trick you into disclosing your personal information.

As always, your best armor against these plans, scams, scams and disadvantages is the knowledge you need to find them out. Here's everything you need to know to be (not) cheated this Christmas season.

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Angela Lang / CNET

Counterfeit websites and fraudulent apps experience "phishing"

In a phishing scheme, the victim receives an e-mail or text message asking them to enter billing information or other personal information on a fraudulent website which is often designed to look just like a legitimate website.

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According to cybersecurity firm McAfee, over a third of Americans have been victims of phishing in recent years become year.


A recent poll by cyber security firm McAfee revealed that 41% of Americans were victims of email phishing in 2019. Not surprisingly, 39% of Americans do not verify authenticity of e-mail senders or retailer sites.

To top it off, 30% of respondents said they lost $ 500 or more last year alone.

If RiskIQ's data shows that, expect an increase in messages over the coming months, allegedly from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or other major retailers. If you receive an email requesting you to update your payment method or request other personal information, contact the company's help desk to make sure the email is genuine before you do anything else.

Other ways to identify a phishing e-mail, according to the Federal Trade Commission and StaySafeOnline.org, are:

  • The sender's e-mail address looks almost correctly, but contains extra characters or Spelling mistake.
  • Spelling mistakes and / or incorrect grammar either in the subject line or anywhere in the message.
  • Addresses you in general terms ("Mr." or "Ms." or "Dear Customer") instead of the name.
  • message warns that you need to take action immediately, and asks you to click a link and enter personal information, especially payment information.
  • The news promises a refund, coupons or other giveaways.

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Credit card skimming, which used to require physical hardware, now hackers add malicious code directly to retailers 'websites to steal customers' credit card information.

James Martin / CNET

Credit card skimming becomes completely digital

Credit card skimmers who steal your personal information when you steal a credit or debit card at the ATM dispenser or at another payment counter have been around for more than a decade, but since October An attack on Macy's is an example of the same technology that is also being used digitally.

Essentially, instead of using physical hardware to steal payment card numbers, hackers put malicious code directly on Macy's website to do the same with online billing information.

Tim Mackey, chief security strategist at Synopsis, a digital security company, warns that online credit card overflows: "There is no obvious way for the average person to determine if or when a website was compromised this may be because the site itself does not look right. "http://www.cnet.com/"

Mackey suggests some strategies that consumers can use to protect themselves:

  • Do not save your credit card information Retail Web Sites.
  • Use a third-party payment method such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or PayPal if possible.
  • Enable buy alerts for all your credit cards.
  • Disable international purchases with all credit cards.
  • Buy You only through your home or mobile network, never via public Wi-Fi where I payment could be intercepted.
  • Avoid the gift exchange "Secret Sister" – this is a pyramid scheme

    Sometime around 2015, created on Facebook, This gift exchange among Internet strangers plays off the popular working practice of "Secret Santa", a game in which everyone Person buys a gift for a randomly selected person without anyone sharing their fifteen. Instead, the Better Business Bureau is a pyramid scheme in holiday clothes. The "Secret Sister" swap promises you will receive $ 360 in gifts after you have bought and sent a $ 10 gift to someone else.

    Unfortunately, such a bad calculation has not prevented this scam from reoccurring year after year. If you do not receive gifts, you will probably not only be out of ten dollars, but you will also need to forward personal information – names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers – to people you have never met in person.

    The Better Business Bureau recommends that you ignore any request to become a secret sister. Do not share your personal information with online strangers. You can also report the invitation to Facebook or another social network you have accessed.

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    The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has posted a video warning local residents about so-called "juice-jacking" malware in public USB charging stations, although such cases are not listed in the books.

    Screenshot by Dale Smith / CNET

    Fears of "juice robbery" could be undone

    Los Angeles District Attorney's Office released a blog post earlier this month, advising citizens not to use USB charging outlets in public places like airports and shopping malls "Juice-Jacking" software that downloads malicious code on connected phones and tablets and gives the thieves access to your personal information.

    While this is theoretically possible, the likelihood of this actually happening to you is incredibly low as the site Snopes.com, which nullifies the urban myth, makes a recent post.

    When TechCrunch contacted LA County Attorney and asked how far the problem was, the Attorney General's office failed to confirm any actual cases of "juice robbing" in the books. One reason could be that most of the smartphones and tablets currently in use have software that prevents exactly these types of attacks. Therefore, you are asked if you trust the connection when you connect it to a laptop or desktop to charge it.

    As long as purchases are made, scammers and thieves will continue to try to demolish you. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to be ahead of the tricks and protect yourself with knowledge. For more strategies to survive this fun yet stressful season, check out our Holiday Survival Guide. We have put together the best tips and tricks to reduce stress after shopping for a marathon. Learn how to use intelligent wizard to manage your vacation gathering, whether you use Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and how to eat healthy without sacrificing dessert.

    Originally released earlier this month.

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