What Are the Biggest Black Friday Scams?

Nothing brings out our joy for shopping deals quite like Black Friday. (Or Small Business Saturday. Or Cyber Monday. You get the idea.) Unfortunately, our love of deals can often blind us when it comes to shopping scams — especially if we do all of our shopping online.

That’s right — even the merriest shopping holiday of the year isn’t immune to flimflam. And if you aren’t careful, you could fall prey to these hoaxes as well. Here are big scams you need to be aware of this holiday season.

credit card and smart phone

Credit cards | Kerkez/iStock/Getty Images

Beware the ‘friendly’ text message

So many people do their Black Friday shopping online these days, and internet scammers have pulled out all the stops when it comes to conning shoppers into handing over their personal information.

MakeUseOf.com points out a successful way hackers are able to scam shoppers is by sending what looks like a personal text from a friend promoting a large gift card. The message may ask you to click on a link and enter personal info in order to win the gift card from a big retailer like Target or Walmart. (And really, who can resist a free gift card?) But clicking these links actually farms your personal information and can access your address book in order to scam even more people.

Your best bet: Always contact your friend if you get this kind of text or email from them. They may have already been hacked, and double-checking can stop the same from happening to you.

Credit cards and money

Credit cards | Alexialex/iStock/Getty Images

Always check where a package is coming from

Even if you buy most of your gifts on a reliable site like Amazon, you may be purchasing items from a third party. And if that third party is from outside the country, there is always a chance it’s a front for a con job and your package may never arrive. You may get excuses from the seller saying the package arrived at your home and was sent back, and then you may get the runaround when you try to get your money back.

While pinpointing whether a third-party company is shady can be difficult, making sure you fully understand the return policy can go a long way to make sure you either always receive your purchase or are properly refunded.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Apps

Social media apps | Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Beware the friendly ‘Like’

This goes along with what we previously said about text messages that seem harmless, but can actually be a scam. Hackers use Facebook to mine users’ information. The easiest way to do that on Black Friday? Asking you to “Like” a page in an effort to get a hold of your personal info.

Your best bet here is to stop your tap-happy fingers from clicking on too many pages, especially in the midst of Black Friday shopping madness. Staying off those pages in the first place is a good way to keep yourself from being scammed.

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