Even in the unprecedented times of 2020 we have all somehow managed to make it to November and we all know what that means. Shopping! Lots of shopping! Preparing for the holidays and showing love to our nearest and dearest.
It may be slightly more muted this year in light of world events but many brands are hoping this seasonal spike will offer some light at the end of the tunnel. Over the last few years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have given shoppers an extra opportunity to snap up a bargain. It’s a highlight for businesses and consumers alike. It’s also a blowout time for fraudsters who know how to exploit our human weakness for a good deal.
Your email inbox will be inundated from your favourite brands clamouring for your cash. Amazon holds around a quarter of the Black Friday market so watch out for offers from this monolith as cybercriminals are ready to steal their brand awareness to their advantage so make sure to be extra cautious.
Also, beware that scams will come from more than just your email inbox. Social media and messaging apps will be alive with tempting offers that are too good to be true. In 2018 WhatsApp was used to trick Black Friday shoppers by offering 99% off vouchers. If it looks too good to be true it probably is!
It’s only human to want to bag a deal but fraudsters know to take advantage of this. It is important to be vigilant of cyber threats as fraudsters know this is a time where people are particularly vulnerable. Taking just a couple of extra seconds can save you hours of headaches later on.
- One of the easiest ways to protect yourself online is to use a credit card to shop online. This protects you for purchases over £100 and up to £30,000.
- Make sure the websites you are accessing are safe. A good indication is that the URL begins HTTPS but that’s not all! Be careful when looking at any links to make sure the web address corresponds with where you want to shop. This can take more than a glance so hover over any hyperlinks and read the address closely. Cybercriminals often swap out one or two letters in a web address to make it look like the real website eg. Arnazon v Amazon
- Beware of phishing scams! When you receive an offer check who it is from? Have you requested to be part of their marketing? Does it apply any kind of time pressure? Check any links before clicking!
- Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure if you are making any payments. Using public Wi-Fi or open connections makes it easy for your data to be stolen.
There are even insurance policies that can cover your cyber risks at home. We work with selected insurance providers who can help to ensure you are protected should the worst happen. If you would like to know more about this service please contact our private client executive, Daniella Rosser.
Protect Your Business
As a business, you can also be vulnerable at this time. It can take just a couple of days for a fraudster to use your name and trash your reputation online. If you are an online retailer you should take all the steps you can to ensure your customers can shop safely.
- Avoid using links in any emails you send to customers. It is better to encourage the customer to go directly to your website.
- Keep your privacy policies up to date and ensure you act in line with data protection laws.
- Make sure that the payment options you offer are secure.
- Make sure that your website uses encryption (HTTPS) whenever you capture data or process a payment.
- Try to maintain good ‘cyber hygiene’ practices to reduce the risks to your customers. This can include training your staff, updating your policies, or using different tools to discover threats and even check whether your details could be used in a phishing campaign.
These are just a few steps you can take but there are so many simple and inexpensive ways you can keep your customers safe. Please contact our cyber insurance specialist Jennifer Tonner to discuss how to keep your business secure on Cyber Monday and beyond.