Black Friday: Up to 20 percent more spam

Black Friday is high season for internet bargain hunters. Wherever a lot of money is being spent online, however, cybercriminals are often not far behind. Email provider mail.com sees an increase in spam and phishing during the bargain holidays, with fake vouchers and shipping scams topping the list of scammers’ tricks.
Woman Finding shopping deals on smartphone
Security expert advises: Make sure that great deal is real before you click


Philadelphia, PA. The email provider mail.com is registering an increase in spam and phishing attacks of around 20 percent during the Black Friday week. Pre-Black Friday sale days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are high season for bargain hunters on the internet. Shoppers let their guard down as they respond quickly to low-price offers. Online criminals take unscrupulous advantage of this: Particularly frequent scams are parcel service phishing attempts and fake vouchers.

"Spam and phishing work especially well when the victims are under pressure. If you receive an email with an exceptionally good offer, you might not look too closely or become careless. Mistakes can easily be made, or you can fall for a trick that you normally would have recognized if you’d had more time to think about it," warns Arne Allisat, head of the mail.com mail security team.

Two scam methods are particularly popular this year: parcel service phishing and voucher scams. In the parcel service method, victims receive a phishing email that looks confusingly similar to a real notification from USPS or FedEx. In it, there is a link with a request for payment to allegedly settle small shipping fees amounting to a few dollars. This means the attackers not only receive the money, but also can grab the access data for their victims' online banking or PayPal accounts at the same time.

The second attack method is fake shopping vouchers. Here, it is suggested that you can get a particularly high discount or credit at a major shopping platform such as Amazon, Walmart, or Target. All you have to do is register via a link in the email. The link then leads to the scammers’ fake website, which at first glance cannot be distinguished from the real shopping platform. If the user logs on to this website, their access data is sent directly to the scammers – who can then make purchases on someone else's account.

"The main thing, especially now in the bargain-shopping season, is to always think twice before you click. No deal can be so cheap or exclusive that you should put your digital identity at risk for it,” adds Allisat. “And to protect yourself from having your email account taken over in a phishing attack, you should activate two-factor authentication wherever possible. Then even if the password is stolen, no one can get into the account without the second factor. This protection is especially important for email accounts."
 
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