Black Friday buyers warned to watch out for scams

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily compact newspaper published in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and owned by Nine. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the Herald is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and "the most widely-read masthead in the country.

Our founder and CEO, Ajay, was interviewed by SMH for his advice on what Australians need to look out for to ensure they are protected during this Black Friday from cybercrime.

Read the full article below as featured in Sydney Morning Herald news.

Black Friday, which falls at the end of this week, has grown during the pandemic to eclipse even Boxing Day for end-of-year sales events. And while shoppers can grab some bargains, cybersecurity experts have warned scammers will also be on the prowl.

Ajay Unni, the founder of security firm StickmanCyber, says the Black Friday weekend is an “extremely lucrative” period for cybercriminals who take advantage of a large number of transactions and increased communications sent out by online retailers.

Black Friday has become bigger during the pandemic, but consumers should not be blinded by the bargains into over-spending and be alert to scamsCREDIT:SOPA

“Consumers need to be extra vigilant, reviewing every marketing email they receive to ensure it is from a legitimate source,” Unni says.

“Medibank and Optus victims are likely to receive an increased amount of spam and phishing attempts in their inboxes.

“Outside a spike in malicious emails in a victim’s inbox, cybercriminals are likely to use the customer data leaked to create more personalised, convincing and effective phishing schemes that can ultimately lead to identity theft and credit card fraud.”

Data from major bank ANZ shows that Black Friday overtook other key end-of-year trading days during the pandemic in terms of spending. Card and merchant transactions from the bank reveal spending on Black Friday in 2021 was 125 per cent higher than the average daily spending from the start of November up to the Wednesday before Black Friday.

Across the broader sales period in 2021, from the Thursday before Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, average daily spending was 70 per cent higher than the average daily spending during the earlier part of November.

Garrett O’Hara, APAC chief field technologist for cybersecurity company Mimecast, agrees everyone should be on high alert for scams this Black Friday; particularly those who have had their personal data compromised or leaked in previous hacks.

Armed with a shopper’s personal data, cybercriminals can target them with more precision during a period when they are expecting to receive offers from legitimate retailers, he says.

As well as targeting individuals, he is seeing more “brand jacking” by cybercriminals, who copy the colour scheme and logos of well-known and trusted brands to create fake websites.

The warnings come as hundreds of scams are being reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the weeks following the recent high-profile data hacks.

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