Surviving Black Friday Online: How to Snag Cyber Deals Safely
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – in November!
As Black Friday rolls around to kick off the holiday spending tradition, stores are prepping to stock and empty out their inventory through the best slashed-price deals and one-time offers. Shoppers camp out of retail stores, ready and equally willing to fritter away their hard-earned cash and still go home with tons of savings. Those who do not want to brave the hoopla would be looking out for online bargains and setting digital alerts for the latest amazing buys, all in the comfort of their beds – hot chocolate drink in hand.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again for the online retail world and, of course, cybercriminals are ready to cash in on the busiest days of the holiday shopping season. Hackers have become more innovative in their scamming tactics, but there are many ways to outsmart even the most conniving cybercrook. Discover how to enjoy a scam-free Black Friday online shopping experience and get the best cyber deals safely.
The Madness that Is Black Friday: What to Expect
The calendar is set as Black Friday 2023 starts on 24 to 27 November, where thousands of retail bargains drop during the four-day shopping holiday. The shopping phenomenon started in the United States, with the phrase “Black Friday” emerging in mid-20th century America. Directly following Thanksgiving, Black Friday marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season.
Over the past decades, it gradually made its mark in the UK and gained popularity around the early 2010s. Retailers embraced the American tradition of opening their doors early for the promise of astounding discounts, paving the way for a bustling and chaotic shopping experience. Top-of-the-line shops attract customers with doorbuster discounts, sales, giveaways, limited-time offers, and special promos.
Here are some of the most common Black Friday trends:
Early Bird Promos
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, retailers offer promos well ahead of the actual day. The keenest shoppers know how to spot early announcements and promotions and land the best deals.
In-store and Online Bargains
Black Friday deals are not exclusive to brick-and-mortar shops. With online stores jumping into the frenzy, sellers offer best-buy sales and discounts on their websites. These promos usually extend to Cyber Monday and rake in more profit.
Among the most popular Black Friday deals, limited-time offers are the best come-ons. Stores lure their shoppers in with items that are time-sensitive or available in limited stocks, encouraging customers to make their purchases immediately.
Gadgets, Electronics, and Tech Deals
Black Friday wouldn’t be complete without the significant promos on gadgets, electronics, and tech products. Overnight vigils are filled with shoppers camped out on sidewalks gearing up to be the first ones in line to grab smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, TVs, and other electronic devices at incredible discounts.
Home Items and Appliances
Expect amazing deals on some of the best home appliances, goods, and furniture on Black Friday. Every year, there’s a whole range of discounted items such as home decor, bedding, and kitchenware.
Clothing and Fashion Sale
Black Friday is the fashionista’s holiday as retailers offer slashed prices on popular and branded apparel, shoes, and accessories.
The Dawn of Black Friday Online
The combination of ever-evolving consumer demands and preferences, technological advancements, and the convenience of digital shop platforms collectively led to the popularity surge of Black Friday online shopping. Today, purchasing online has become a major part of the general Black Friday shopping experience. Here are the key reasons for this phenomenon:
Better Internet Access
E-commerce has had major advancements since its introduction in the mid-90s. As more people gained access to the Internet and became confident in doing online transactions, the popularity of e-commerce skyrocketed.
Increase of Black Friday Deals Online
The surge in online shoppers drove retailers to extend Black Friday offers to their online platforms, giving customers open access to discounts, vouchers, and promos from the comfort of their homes.
Improved website interfaces, online payment security methods, and major technological advancements boosted the commercial use of the Internet, furthering the growing popularity of online shopping.
Accessibility and Convenience
Consumers welcomed the convenience of browsing and purchasing without the hassle of going to physical stores amidst the Black Friday frenzy. They have unlimited access to a wide selection of various items at their leisure.
Mobile Shopping Apps
Further facilitating shopping on the go was the wave of smartphones and mobile apps. Consumers can now shop no matter where they are and whenever they want.
Social Media Effect
Social media is a major influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions, with retailers collaborating with popular channels and platforms to reach a wider audience.
The COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020 pushed the shift to transactions online as health regulations and safety concerns urged people to opt for digital alternatives.
Black Friday Online: Best Ways to Fill Your Digital Cart Safely
As the digital landscape continues to progress, Black Friday shopping surpassed the conventional chaos of in-store scramble for the convenience of online platforms. Though these virtual shopping portals provide unlimited access to holiday promos and discounts, there still exists concern about online safety.
Securing personal information and data is crucial to ensure a smooth and safe Black Friday online shopping experience. Here are ways to protect your details online:
Whichever device you use for online shopping, it’s important to ensure that it has the latest security functions, such as updated antivirus software.
Use Trusted Websites:
Legitimate online retailers use websites with https://as security indicators in the URL and padlock symbols in the left corner of the address bar. Additionally, reputable sellers have a physical address and contact details listed on their website.
Create Unique Passwords:
Generate strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts. Use a combination of symbols, numbers, and letters.
Set Up 2FA:
Enable a two-factor authentication (2FA) to add another layer of protection to your online accounts.
Check promos, deals, and retailers before adding items to your cart. Shop only from reputable shopping websites. Be wary if the deal seems too good to be true.
Check Exchange/Return Policies:
Know the return policies of the online shop in case you need to return or exchange an item.
Monitor Your Cart:
Regularly check the items in your digital cart. Ensure that the selected options and quantities are correct to avoid the hassles of returns.
Use Secure Payment Methods:
Choose virtual cards or reliable digital wallets as payment options. These provide additional buyer protection to reduce the risk of fraud and scams.
Do Not Click Unfamiliar Emails or Links:
Around Black Friday, cybercriminals will double their efforts to bait people by sending fraudulent attachments embedded in notifications, links, or emails masked as special or exclusive offers. Never open or download suspicious-looking messages that eventually redirect you to phishing websites.
Save Confirmation Emails:
Confirmation emails and receipts are proofs of transactions. Be sure to save these documents as they can be helpful for any ensuing issues.
With these guidelines in mind, you can be confident as you shop online and fill your digital cart this Black Friday.
Types of Black Friday Online Scams
As the holiday season approaches, shoppers are gearing up to snag the best Black Friday deals. For those who want to avoid the entire in-store ordeal, online shopping offers unparalleled convenience. However, with this comfort comes the heightened risk of online scams and fraud.
It’s critical to be aware of the potential cyber threats, identify the warning signs, and not fall victim to cyber pirates.
Here are the most common Black Friday cybercrimes and how to counteract them:
1.Website and Phishing Scams:
Fraudulent online websites that claim to be legitimate to obtain sensitive information such as credit card or login details.
Never click on suspicious links or messages, verify emails, and use 2FA.
2. Social Media and Email Scams:
Phishing emails and social media posts with bogus deals and promotions.
Verify the authenticity of links and emails. Subscribe to official store newsletters for updates and announcements.
3. Counterfeit Items:
Substandard and fake products presented in the pretense of authentic bargains and deals.
Be cautious of deals that appear too good, especially from popular brands. Read product reviews and purchase only from reputable shopping websites.
4. Order and Delivery Scams:
Fake order and shipping notifications or delivery issues used illegally to acquire personal information.
Verify order and shipping alerts directly from the store or the retailer’s website. Use official tracking tools provided by the retailer.
5. Gift Card Scams:
Scammers request store gift cards as payments for purported deals and services.
Never enter transactions that involve gift cards. Be critical of such requests as legitimate retailers do not require this payment method.
6. Mobile App Scams:
Fraudulent mobile apps that mimic legitimate sellers to collect sensitive user data.
Check app reviews and download apps from official app stores only. Apps that ask for excessive permissions are most likely fraudulent.
7. Limited-Time Offers Pressure:
Cybercriminals and scammers create a sense of urgency to demand customers make quick or on-the-spot purchasing decisions.
Take time to check the website, read reviews, and verify deals and offers. Never give in to impulsive buying.
The threat of online shopping scams has heightened as digital platforms have become more interconnected and accessible. Staying vigilant and using secure online sources and methods are crucial in counteracting Black Friday cyber fraud. Always be cautious whenever you do your holiday shopping online.
Shopping Online on Black Friday? Here’s What to Consider
The Black Friday craze has drawn crowds of shoppers who want to take advantage of limited and exclusive promos to get the best deals and save on their purchases. In-store shopping has always been the trend, but when the global pandemic hit, online shopping scaled up as people acclimated to the new normal.
Now, more and more shoppers are surfing digital stores to do their Black Friday shopping. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of shopping online this holiday season:
Advantages of Black Friday Online Shopping
Convenience: Shop from the comfort of your home without dealing with long checkout queues and jam-packed stores.
Exclusive Online Deals: Some of the best Black Friday deals are only found in online stores. Retailers may offer exclusive digital promotions or discounts that are not available in-store.
Easy Price Comparisons: Readily compare item prices across various websites to get the best deals and enjoy amazing promos.
Wider Item Selection: Compared to physical stores, online platforms have a broader range of products with different features and sizes.
Time Saver: Shopping online on Black Friday reduces the time spent traveling to physical stores, allowing more chances to look for and find the best items on sale.
All-Time Availability: Because it is online, access is provided 24/7, giving shoppers with varying schedules the flexibility they need.
Disadvantages of Black Friday Online Shopping
Hidden Costs: With the convenience of online shopping comes additional costs, such as shipping fees and taxes. These may not be apparent until the later stages of the online checkout process.
Out-of-Stock Products: Popular items tend to sell out more quickly online, but inventory updates are not always real-time or accurate. Once they become available, these products go back to their pre-Black Friday price.
Shipping Delays: The surge in online shopping on Black Friday can result in shipping delays and cause purchases to arrive later than anticipated.
No Trial Before Purchase: A lot of online purchases can lead to dissatisfaction with the received item since a physical inspection or trial is not possible, unlike in physical stores.
Return Hassles: From filling out forms to the complex shipping process and potential restocking fees, returning items purchased online can be more cumbersome than returning items in a physical store.
Security Issues: Online transactions pose potential security breaches, including data risks and fraud. Cybercriminals are always lurking on the internet to hack online shop security, scamming customers, and stealing their personal information, especially during the peak of the holiday shopping season.
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Here’s Our Take
As you brace yourself for the exhilarating rush of online shopping this Black Friday, don’t forget that a discerning approach can turn this digital retail spectacle into a satisfying and worthwhile experience. Mastering the ways to navigate online deals safely will empower you to snag the best offers without falling prey to cyber pitfalls. Always be on the lookout for scams and prioritise secure practices.