Fake websites target online holiday shoppers seeking Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Friday, November 26, 2021
Fake websites target online holiday shoppers seeking Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals
What you need to do so you don't send your money to a holiday scammer.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A warning for shoppers going online for the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday.

As you're scoring those deals from your couch, be vigilant of scammers looking to take advantage of you, because you could buy an online gift and never get it!

One cyber intelligence group, Check Point Research, said it has discovered an average of about 5,300 malicious websites per week and its recently seen 178% record breaking increase in malicious shopping sites.

To make sure you don't fall victim to a holiday scam, you should:

  • Only shop from websites you know and trust: When shopping online, the best way to avoid being scammed is to buy directly from a reputable seller.
  • Look closely at the url: Scammers will try to copy-cat well know companies with similar domains. Always check the url for spelling errors or discrepancies.
  • Check for company contact information: A website that is malicious may not provide a phone number or email.
  • Use credit, not debit cards. If you end up having to dispute an unwanted charge it's much easier to do so with a credit.
  • More tips from Check Point Research:

  • Always shop from an authentic reliable source. Do not click on promotional links you get over email or over social media. Pro-actively google search your desired retail or brand
  • Too good to happen shopping offers are indeed too good to happen. A new iPad will NOT go on an 80% discount this season, unfortunately.
  • Always look for the lock. Making an online transaction from a website that does not have secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption installed is an absolute NO-GO. To know if the site has SSL, look for the "S" in HTTPS, instead of HTTP. An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below. No lock is a major red flag.
  • Always be attentive to password reset emails, especially when volumes of traffic online are at peak, like the November shopping season, If you receive an uninvited password reset email, always visit the website directly (don't click on embedded links) and change your password to something different on the original site.