Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the hottest shopping days of the year. Some people literally plan for these days all year long. Some people even book their work vacation days so that they can simply shop, uninterrupted. The last thing we want to do is rain on anyone’s parade here but, we simply need to be the voice of caution. In addition to great deals and wonderful shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday also bring out some sneaky scams.
Earlier in the week, we published a highly informative blog with some great tips for Canadians on how to snag the sweetest savings on Black Friday: Get The Most Bang For Your Canadian Buck On Black Friday. It provides some helpful advice on how, even here in Canada, we can make the most of Black Friday. So, make sure to read that blog article in conjunction with this one in order to make sure your Holiday Shopping Extravaganza goes off without a hitch!
IF IT SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE – IT IS:
There is absolutely no doubt that you can grab awesome deals on Black Friday. However, a Sony 50” FlatScreen for only 15$? Or a designer handbag that usually retails for 500$ now at 95% off? If it sounds too good to be true, then the answer is that IT IS! Every year, thousands of people are tricked into giving out their credit card info to scammers. And one of the most popular days for that is on Black Friday because so many people drop their guard and put their trust in these “awesome” deals.
**How to protect yourself: Avoid making “great deal” purchases on any site other than known retailers.
DON’T FALL FOR PHISHING:
Another common practice amongst scammers, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is phishing. Phishing is the act of sending a fake email that looks like a legit one. Common examples are emails from your “bank” telling you that there was an error in your recent purchase or some other bogus hook, or emails from a “delivery service” telling you that there was an error with the delivery. In both circumstances, the scammers are after your personal information.
**How to protect yourself: Only shop at known retailers and always make sure that the site you are shopping on is secured by looking for the “s” at the end of the https://. Also, never click on suspicious emails or give out your personal information to anyone via email.
COUPONS, COUPONS, AND MORE COUPONS:
If you have a social media account, then you have most definitely seen some of those shared “coupons”. Coupons such as “Apple is giving away a ton of iPADs to celebrate its 50th anniversary – click here to claim yours now!” Or, the current one for Black Friday: “Walmart coupon for 85% off store-wide on Black Friday! Claim yours now!” Don’t click! You will most likely be taken to a site that actually looks and feels exactly like the Walmart site but in reality, it’s a fake. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire in order to “receive your coupon” and this is how the scammers obtain your personal information.
**How to protect yourself: Before clicking on any link or any coupon, check out snopes.com. Snopes is a site that investigates scams and false claims and advises the public on the validity of the item in question.
DISCOUNT GIFT CARDS:
You may have seen a few advertisements for sites that are offering to sell gift cards at a reduced rate. Example, on these sites, you can purchase an Amazon or Best Buy gift card for 5 – 10% off the dollar amount of the card. This seems like a great idea, right? An easy way to save extra money on already great deals! The problem with this, however, is that often these cards are stolen. And, more often than not, the original card owner has already reported the card stolen and has canceled the card number. So, not only are you encouraging thieves by purchasing these cards, but you may be unable to redeem them and therefore will lose the money spent.
**How to protect yourself: Don’t buy discounted gift cards unless you know exactly where they came from and why they are discounted.
KEEP YOUR WALLET CLOSE:
We’ve all, at one time or another, left our wallet out of our site carelessly. Now and then a wallet gets left in the car while the owner “quickly” runs in somewhere. Or, a very common occurrence, is a purse put in a shopping cart and then out of sight for a split second while the owner turns around to grab an item off of a shelf. Pick-pockets have mastered the art of grabbing valuables in the amount of time it takes you to blink! And Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perfect days considering the sheer volume of people busy shopping in the stores. Pickpockets thrive in the chaos!
**How to protect yourself: Keep your wallet and/or your purse on your person at all times. Make sure it is being kept in a protected area such as a buttoned pants pocket or cross-shoulder for a purse.
AVOID PUBLIC INTERNET:
Is the chaos of crowded malls simply not your cup of tea? Perhaps you figure the best way to get your shopping done is sipping a cup of joe at your local coffee shop or enjoying a nice quiet lunch at your local restaurant. This is all fine and dandy until it is time to exchange personal banking information over a public wi-fi! Cyber scammers are just waiting to grab your personal information, especially on such hot shopping days!
**How to protect yourself: Shop from the comfort of your home or in person in-store.
CAN YOU SPOT PHONY ADS?
Before even beginning your shopping experience, take a minute to take the BBB quiz on how to spot bad ads. BBB Adtruth is a program aimed at educating consumers and raising awareness about potential bad advertising. We live in a world in which we are increasingly bombarded with ads constantly, while shopping, while internet surfing, even in our own email inboxes. It is a good idea for everyone to brush up on what to look for to spot ad scams, phony ads, and just plain bad advertising. Take the test here: bbb.org/adtruth – you just might be surprised at your score!
**How to protect yourself: Take the test at the BBB Adtruth website.
Protecting yourself against Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams is a good way to make sure you get the best deals, with the least headaches possible. Check out our blog on tips to get the best deals on Black Friday here: : Get The Most Bang For Your Canadian Buck On Black Friday. If you need a little extra Black Friday shopping money, you can apply for a Black Friday and Cyber Monday cash loan and don’t forget that we’re always here for you 24 /7.