As a marketer, when you hear Cyber Monday, the odds are that you’re thinking about your business’ ad campaign and how to draw in users with your stunning discounts. But somewhere in a corner of the internet, scammers are thinking about how they can use Cyber Monday deals to scam people and businesses out of their hard-earned money.
Cyber Monday scams have been around for a long time, but they might be getting a jump in 2022, according to statistics. In 2018, Cyber Monday sales totaled nearly $8 billion. In 2020, that number increased to $11 billion (Financesonline).
Online businesses have, unsurprisingly, seen a marked increase in revenue generated over the past few years. In 2020, Shopify saw a 76% increase in revenue during Cyber week, up from 2019. (Shopify).
All this means scammers have a greater incentive to target customers and businesses alike during Cyber Monday.
In this post, we’ll look at what Cyber Monday scams are, the most common Cyber Mondays scams that affect businesses, and how you can protect your business, staff, and customers.
What Is a Cyber Monday Scam?
Cyber Monday scams are usually targeted at unsuspecting victims during the Cyber Monday discount season. Fraudsters take advantage of people’s tendency to shop, spend more money, and look out for unbelievable deals.
There are several Cyber Monday scams out there, and they target everything from users’ money to credit card information, personal details, and even passwords.
Cyber Monday scams are also damaging to businesses because they can ruin your reputation, with phishing scams being the worst of them. These scams can reduce user trust and even cost you legal fees and actual business revenue.
Let’s dive into the most popular Cyber Monday scams and how you can protect yourself.
Top Eight Cyber Monday Scams
In a payment fraud, scammers will make multiple purchases on your website using stolen credit card information. These are purchases that may have been flagged in the rest of the year, but with the rush of Cyber Monday, they will blend in with other legitimate transactions.
Once a transaction has been flagged as fraudulent your business might find that transactions have been reversed AFTER the items have been dispatched. Meaning you can end up out of pocket twice.
Payment fraud, also known as carding, is most damaging to businesses because it can lead to a host of complications including chargebacks and the suspension of your merchant payment account.
Fraudulent Online Stores
Customers will expect Cyber Monday deals from virtually every store where they shop, and even some where they don’t. Therein lies the problem because fraudsters use it as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting shoppers.
Scammers will create a fake store, offer mouthwatering discounts and trick users into buying from them. When users submit their credit card information, the fraudsters have what they want. They may sell the information on the blck market or try to max out the card.
Phishing scams are very similar to fraudulent stores with one key difference – scammers try to mirror a popular, legitimate website. That may be Amazon, or it may be your online store. This is a practice known as website spoofing, and is more common than you might think.
Users visit the store, assume it’s the one they know and trust, and submit their credit card information only to lose all their money.
Phishing scams can hurt your business, especially if users never realize that they’ve been scammed. They go their day expecting the Cyber Monday goods from your store, but the goods will never arrive. That could erode trust, loyalty, and may even drag your brand into a social media disaster.
Fake Delivery Scams
Most people will be accepting packages around Cyber Monday so fraudsters will send a fake delivery notification, asking users to click the link to accept their delivery or track their order.
Sometimes, users will be prompted to provide some personal information, which will be stolen, and other times, just clicking the link provides the access that fraudsters need.
False delivery scams are some of the oldest and most effective scams on the internet. The premise is to get the victim to click on a link that secretly steals their information; the packaging is only slightly different.
Gift Card Scams
Gift card scams are quite popular and Cyber Monday gives them a new face. Here, fake online stores will ask victims to pay for their order.
Of course the payment is non refundable and not traceable so immediately the victims submit the gift cards, their money’s gone.
Most people are wise to gift card scams by now but by adding a cyber Monday twist to it, scammers are able to get away with more.
Malware Email Scams
With this scam, fraudsters send victims an email and attached zip file with “important information” regarding their fake order.
E-commerce stores never send zip files to their customers but the victims don’t know that. When they open the zip, malware is immediately installed on their PC.
It could be ransomware that demands a payment, a script that uses the computer to generate fake traffic or a bot that scrubs the computer of personal information.
Fake Social Media Discounts
Scammers use fake social medial discounts to lend social proof to their schemes. They will create fake social media accounts and promote discounts to real users online. The recipients don’t suspect a thingbecause they assume the offers are shared by real, honest users.
The rest of the scam plays out the same, and it might include a phishing website, a gift card scam or the user may end up downloading malware.
With a phishing SMS, fraudsters will send an SMS with details of your failed order and a customer care number to call. Users who call the number are asked to provide sensitive information.
SMS phishing scams are effective because most people expect phishing links from their email inbox, but not text messages. As a result, they might think it’s authentic.
Three Steps to Protect Your Business from Cyber Monday Scams
Beef up Your Cyber Security
Improving your cyber security protocols will make it much harder for scammers to pull a chargeback payment scam on your business. Taking these precautions around Cyber Monday and other high-traffic dates like Black Friday and Christmas can be invaluable for your business.
Statistics show that 1 in 2 people will be approached by a scammer, and out of those people, 53% of them will engage, and ultimately, 25% will end up losing money (Better Business Bureau).
As a result, warning your users not to engage with suspicious online activity, especially around Cyber Monday, is a great start. Consider including information about the most common types of scams and how to avoid them.
Block all Bot Traffic
Scammers use bots for everything from gathering information for phishing websites to spoofing your official emails.
Use ClickCease’s Bot Zapping to block malicious bot activity on your website including card fraud, account takeover and spamming and spoofing. It doesn’t just protect your business and your website, but also protects your customer’s data and your brand reputation.
You can try Bot Zapping by ClickCease for free for 7 days with our free trial.
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