Hot on the heels of Black Friday is Cyber Monday which offers the opportunity to bag some great deals online.
Retailers tend to slash prices on this day but it’s important to do your research and be sure that you really are getting a good deal rather than taking the store's word for it when they say it's the best price.
Many people bookmark the products they have their eye on and get online as soon as the sale launches.
However, with so much choice out there, it can be easy to pay more than you need to for a product especially if you get caught up in the shopping frenzy.
Cyber fraudsters also view Cyber Monday as a potential bonanza and employ all sorts of tricks to fool online shoppers.
With these points in mind here are some tips to help you shop safely and wisely.
- Keep an eye open for disingenuous pricing. Some retailers seemingly offer great discounts on valuable electronic items. However, if you look closely the items may actually be several years old, for instance, a laptop with a processor that was made five years ago. The key is to do your research when you come across a ‘bargain’.
- Retailers also tend to manipulate prices to make sales bargains appear to be greater than they really are by playing up the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) rather than the actual market price. It could be that the MSRP is actually higher than the market price.
- In the same vein retailers sometimes bump up a price and then lower it again. They’ll show a high-end price and then advertise a sale price. It looks like a great deal but the sale price may well be the price the product is sold for during the rest of the year.
- Be aware that retailers are looking to tap into the instant gratification culture by encouraging people to buy average or below average deals as impulse buys.
Of course, there are bargains to be had but it pays to be aware that a ‘great deal’ may not be such a great on closer inspection and especially when it comes to electronic goods.
Last minute phishing scams are not unusual in the weekend leading up to Cyber Monday.
The trick to avoid falling victim to these is to simply use common sense. The majority of websites and emails safe but around Cyber Monday the percentage of scams and illegal activity spikes simply because more people shop online.
- Fraudsters typically send out emails offering seemingly eye-wateringly good bargains on sought after devices such as Apple products;
- Be mindful of emails that promise unbelievably good deals on high-end, expensive tech equipment. It could well be a phishing mail;
- Be wary of fake websites masquerading as a legitimate company. Does the company logo look different? Are there grammatical errors in the text that you’re reading? These are clues that the website is a scam;
- Some cyber fraudsters will also try the ‘you have a parcel to be collected’ scam, or ‘missed delivery.’ If you’re not expecting a delivery treat it warily. These mails typically ask you to click through to a link or ask you enter your personal details into an online form. Your information is then stolen;
- Similarly emails offering deals from hotels, airlines and holiday companies are used by scammers to get you to click on link in order to infect your computer with malware;
- Fraudsters also create fake email coupons offering great discounts that appear to be from legitimate retailers but are actually designed to steal your credit card information.
Watch out for scammers targeting social media. They sometimes use compromised or fake Facebook accounts to post links to heavily discounted deals that are actually scams and will steal personal information. These posts can spread quickly when they end up in news feeds.