Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
“Black Friday” – the Friday after Thanksgiving that is one of the busiest online shopping days of the year – will be impacted by supply chain issues, shipping delays, and COVID-19 in 2021, “which will inject a heightened level of stress and panic buying” that may lead to identity theft and fraud, according to a news release from FICO.
“It’s an environment that provides the perfect conditions for global consumers to fall for scam deals or buy products that aren’t quite what they expected,” FICO fraud expert T.J. Horan explained in the news release, which offered five tips on how online shoppers may protect themselves from identity theft and fraud on “Black Friday.”
- Tip #1 Revisit Your Password Habits: Remember to use a unique password for each of your accounts, particularly important ones – not just bank and brokerage accounts, but PayPal, Gmail, and Amazon, everything!
- Tip #2 Think Before You Click: Check twice before clicking on a text or email to confirm it is genuine. Look at the design, copy, spelling, and of course the intended link to see if it is genuine. Better still, navigate to the intended site yourself, without clicking on the link, to be sure you’re reaching the genuine landing page.
- Tip #3 Don’t Act In Haste: Fraudsters know if they build up a sense of urgency you may act in haste. If you’re being pressured to make a payment straight away, stop and give yourself time to think.
- Tip #4 Be Skeptical of Amazing Deals: Everyone likes to think they might have gotten lucky, but it pays to pause and check in with your inner skeptic. Are your internet sleuthing skills really that good that you managed to find the very last item? Scarcity is a persuasion tactic that is used by legitimate retailers but also by scammers. Remember that scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it.
- Tip #5 Communicate Directly with Your Bank: If you receive a fraud alert from your bank by text don’t click on any links, even if the message mentions suspicious activity on a personal account. Log directly into the mobile app or site for your bank or card to make sure it’s real. Ensure any communication with your bank or credit card company is direct.
Online fraud has become a massive issue. Three-quarters of retailers in the U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Germany saw fraud increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, while in the U.S. digital fraud was up 25 percent in the first four months of 2021 and continues to grow during the holiday season, according to the news release.
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