A guide to Black Friday and safe shopping online this Christmas

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It’s Black Friday on 24th November and its arrival heralds the beginning of the festive shopping season, without a doubt the busiest time of year for retailers, both on the high street and online.

The popularity of online shopping has risen dramatically in recent years however, we’ve also seen a sharp increase in phishing emails and other scams, so it may be prudent to consider issuing a communication to your staff to help highlight some of the risks associated with shopping online.

As well as helping to mitigate any potential impact to your business, this will also promote security awareness in general and will hopefully get staff focusing on shopping safely online this Christmas, whether it be during their lunch at work or at home – dependent on your acceptable use policy, of course.

With online safety in mind, we’ve prepared a list of the most common scams to be aware of this Black Friday and over the festive period:

• Click and Receive

Beware of emails on your computers and mobile devices exclaiming that you have just received a package you are not expecting from the Post Office or a well-known shipping vendor, especially if you did not order directly. Be wary of any message that asks you to fill out a form or provide any personal information.

• Offer Alert

Watch out for the too-good-to-be-true offers that will lead you to a malicious website asking you for your credit card information and other personal data. A lot of these fake offers will try to lure you in with promises of winning free gifts. If you’ve never heard of the company, or if the known company’s logo looks slightly different in some way, get out of there. You might also receive emails or texts about this year’s hot or hard-to-get gift items that will lead you to rogue websites.  These scams can also show up on social networking sites like Facebook too.

• Text Phishing

Some scammers send texts, pretending to warn people of suspicious activity in their financial account and asking for them to call a bogus number — where they’ll be asked to share sensitive information. If you receive one of these, contact your financial institution directly rather than using the number the text provides. That way, you know you’re really talking to your bank or credit card company, not a scammer.

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