How to Avoid Black Friday Scams – Top 7 Most Common Scams Explained!

Written by Novak Bozovic
Last updated September 25, 2021

Oh yes, it’s that time of the year again – with several shopping ‘holidays’ ahead of us. With Black Friday 2018 just around the corner and followed by numerous Christmas shopping deals, there’s plenty to choose from. However, this isn’t only the perfect occasion to find an amazing Black Friday deal. Unless you're careful, you can fall prey to cybercriminals. However, TechNadu’s team is here to help with some valuable guidance. So, let’s talk about Black Friday scams and how to avoid them.

Black Friday Scams – Everything You Need to Know!

Needless to say, online scams are all around us. Some of those invade your privacy and collect your sensitive information. Others are typical financial scams designed to take some money out of your pocket. So, we have gathered the most common Black Friday scams – and we’ll teach you how to be safe this holiday season. Take a look.

1. Old-School Bait & Switch Advertising

We will start our list of Black Friday scams with one of the oldest tricks in the book. Called ‘Bait & Switch’, this is a method of false advertising. For example, you see an ad displaying a special offer on a hugely popular product – something that many individuals would like to own. This ad typically displays a really low price – low enough to make you inquire further. However, you’ll find out that the product is out of stock – but you’re still in luck. The next best thing is coming, and you’re offered several ‘special’ deals made ‘just for you’.

The ‘Bair & Switch’ method has found its use in the digital realm as well. You might see false advertisements and incredibly low prices – which might sound too good to be true. However, you won’t be able to buy that product and you’ll see a message to contact the seller. And this is when you’ll be offered the next best thing.

How to Avoid Bait & Switch Scams? Well, you already know that if something sounds too good to be true, you shouldn’t get your hopes up. And also, make sure to know what you want to buy. If you’re buying a notebook, for example, a seller will be able to persuade you into buying ‘the next best thing’ if you’re not sure about what kind of computer you want.

2. Gift Card Scams

With the rise of online shopping, we saw a new kind of scam that revolves around gift cards. That’s because the Web is a convenient way to sell gift cards at a low price. We’re talking about iTunes gift cards, Apple Store or Google Play gift cards. Many of these are legitimate offers and they are a nice way to save some money. They are also a nice gift, which is why this is one of the hugely popular Black Friday scams.

Gift Cards Sale

There are two possible ways you can become of victim of this scam. First, you can buy an invalid gift card which means that you’ll lose the money you spend. Then, you can be asked for personal information which then can be used for nefarious purposes.

How to Avoid Gift Card Scams? Well, we’re not advising you to avoid gift cards altogether. However, you should always know some information about the seller. For example, checking their history is a good place to start and also, make sure the seller is verified.

3. Facebook Like-Farming Scams

Facebook is constantly changing its algorithms and enhancing the way that online content is shared across the platform. However, there is one thing that remains unchanged. When people start to ‘like’ a certain page, it automatically gains prominence. Now, let’s say that a scammer creates a false Facebook page advertising attractive giveaway. You are asked to ‘like’ that post which means that all your friends will see your activity. This can spread exponentially, all thanks to the ‘Like’ button. Once the false Facebook page gets a large number of ‘likes’ and followers, it can do one of two things. The creator of the page can start a spam campaign or the page can be sold to unscrupulous marketers.

How to Avoid Facebook Like-Farming Scams? In general, you need to use your common sense. Promotional offers and giveaways are a nice way for brands to build their image and connect to consumers. So, make sure to stick to credible Facebook pages and don’t just ‘like’ everything you see.

4. Scams Related to ‘Fake’ Delivery Problems

Let’s say that you’ve ordered a few items from Amazon or some other online retailer. In case you’re not buying directly from Amazon, the items you bought might be sold by third-party sellers. So, you wouldn’t be surprised to see an email asking you to pick a new delivery time. You read the email which might even look like it’s coming from Amazon and you see a link to set a new delivery time. After all, you want your Black Friday items to come as soon as possible. So, you get to see a Web page asking for your personal information. And this is exactly how you can expose your private data. The same goes for emails that seemingly come from FedEx, DHL, or UPS and some of these might come with attachments that, once downloaded, can act as ransomware.

Package Delivery

How to Avoid Delivery-Related Scams? If you see an email from Amazon or some other retailer, make sure to read it carefully. In general, there’s no need for Amazon to ask for your private information since this website already has that data stored. And don’t fill out any forms online just because you’ve been asked to do so.

5. Scams Related to ‘Missing’ Purchases

When you buy and order something online, you’ll get an estimate of when you should receive your item. However, what happens if your item never shows up? Well, you should know that this is one of the most dangerous Black Friday scams – but there are ways to still be protected.

First of all, you should not panic even though we’re sure you’ll feel angry and frustrated. We recommend turning to the person or company who sold you the item. Tell them that you haven’t received it so that they can check the problem. In general, they also need to have some kind of proof of postage. So, if the problem isn’t caused by the seller, maybe it’s caused by the delivery service. In the majority of situations, this problem can easily be resolved. However, that’s not the case if there’s a scam involved. You'll be charged the moment you buy something, but you'll never receive the purchased item.

How to Avoid ‘Missing’ Purchases Scam? Once again, you need to be very careful about where you do your online shopping. Stick to well-known companies and e-commerce websites. Take a close look at the seller’s history (if it’s a third-party seller). And finally, you can ask for your money back through chargeback, which applies to PayPal and banks.

6. Year-Round Black Friday Scams

When you think about ‘Black Friday’, you probably think about Amazon and its numerous amazing deals. Well, it’s not surprising that retailers want to take advantage of this by offering year-round Black Friday sales. Due to the huge popularity of this shopping holiday, scammers are doing the same thing.

Shopping Illustration

Especially during this time of the year, you might receive emails from Amazon advertising huge Black Friday savings. However, you must know that this year, Black Friday falls on November 23. This means that Cyber Monday happens the week after that. So, if you see emails letting you know about Amazon Black Friday deals in October or December (or any other month except for late November), someone is probably trying to scam you.

How to Avoid Year-Round Black Friday Scams? Make sure to know when to expect Black Friday sales and double-check every email that Amazon sends you – some of those might not really be from the world’s most popular e-commerce website.

7. Black Friday Price Fluctuations

Finally, we have another example of old-school Black Friday scams. Retailers know that you expect an amazing deal in late November, which is why they might bump the price up during September and October, which is when most people start looking for something to buy on Black Friday. So, they bump the price up so that it looks like you’re getting a good deal once the time comes. However, you are being scammed. This isn’t illegal but you’re buying something thinking you got a good deal – when the truth is the opposite.

How to Avoid Price Fluctuation Scams? This is where a website such as CamelCamelCamel comes in handy. This is a price tracker that let you see historical prices of certain items. This website is useful year-round and it’s a good way to buy something at an affordable price.

Final Thoughts

Dear readers, this is where we conclude our article on the most common Black Friday scams. If there’s anything else you’d like to add, feel free to post a comment below.

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