With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, shoppers should be on high alert to ensure they’re not the latest victim of a shiny and new scam being cooked up by bad actors.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, $1.48B was reported lost last year due to fraud, an increase of 38% since the previous year.

 While we’re all always looking for a good deal, without paying close attention when clicking around online, you could easily find yourself being out thousands of dollars, and with low-quality, counterfeit shoes and bags that not even your kids will want. To avoid that being your reality this holiday shopping season, fraud prevention company RedMarlin has researched and compiled the top 5 Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams consumers should look out for this year.

    1.    Gaming Scams


Gaming scams have drastically increased the last few years, with the most popular being the 'Fortnite V-Bucks Generator' scam. Fortnite allows players to buy custom skins and weapons through its in-game currency, 'V-Bucks,’ but scammers are using it as bait. They claim to hack into Fortnite's servers and increase the number of your V-Bucks, solely by completing a survey and entering your credit card information. Easy enough, right? ;) 

    2.    Cryptocurrency Discount Scams


Scammers have found a new way to attract crypto traders and enthusiasts by offering huge discounts and cashback offers. It starts with an email claiming to offer steep discounts on bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. Once the user lands the webpage, he/she will receive a promo code. They will be redirected to a page with several purchase options where the user needs to opt for a method of payment and enter their banking details.

    3.    Gift Card Scams


You’ll likely seen deals that just seem way too good to be true? And guess what — they are!

Consumers should be particularly wary on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for offers like 'Pay $10 to receive $100 in gift cards.’ If you’re buying a gift card, make sure you’re purchasing directly from the correct seller. Or, better yet, pop into a Target or CVS to avoid the digital threat altogether!

    4.    Survey Scams


If you find yourself entering a landing web page with a pop up telling you that you’ve been chosen to participate in an anonymous survey, your best bet is to put your guard up. Scammers will replicate the language used on a true retailer’s page asking for your “valuable feedback for a chance to win….” Instead of going for the “$80 exclusive reward,” check the URL and make sure you’re really on an authentic website, not a Walmart look-alike, like 'walmarty.com.'

    5.    Fake Shopping Websites


 While fake shopping sites are not new, the tactics in which they’re being deployed and spread continues to evolve. Facebook and Instagram ads, for example, are a prime gateway. Be wary next time you follow a "Nike Black Friday Cheap Deals” link if the website has a strange URL and images and that could easily have been grabbed from Google. While the “Nikes” may be heavily discounted, you’ll be waiting forever, literally, before the illegitimate business sends them to your doorstep.

In addition to using a real-time fraud detection tool like RedMarlin’s CheckPhish.ai, just being vigilant and guarded will save consumers thousands of dollars this year.

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