Black Friday 2017 tips: How to avoid scams, poor bargains and hackers while shopping online

Aatif Sulleyman

The Black Friday shopping event is a great chance to grab a bargain, but it can also open up golden opportunities for scammers and hackers.

With deals constantly launching and expiring, you’ll need to move quickly in order to get what you want. However, you still need to take the right measures to ensure you’re not being duped.

Here are some useful tips worth following this Black Friday.

It sounds obvious, but if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Avast security consumer expert Pete Turner says you should be wary of all offers you receive over email.

Look for spelling and grammatical mistakes in the copy and avoid clicking any links or downloading any attachments in emails. Instead, inspect the URL and sender’s address to make sure it’s safe.

You should also only enter your personal and payment information on sites that are backed by an encrypted connection. Just look for a green padlock in the omnibar.

Now could be a good time to start using a password manager too.

“There’s a high possibility that you’ll open one or more shopping accounts over the sales weekend,” says Turner. “This means you’ll either have another password to remember or another account utilising a password that’s already in use.”

A password manager makes it much easier for you to use different login combinations for different accounts, as it will remember everything for you.

This means that, if one of your accounts gets compromised, the person who managed to break into it won’t also be able to breach your other accounts.

Andrew Martin, the CEO of security firm DynaRisk, meanwhile, recommends making online payments on your credit card, as he says it’s easier to get reimbursed if you end up becoming a victim of fraud.

It’s not just criminals you should be aware of either. Which? has found that around 60 per cent of a selection of last year’s Black Friday deals were actually cheaper or the same price at other points during the year.

It also says you should consider a retailer’s delivery fees and check its returns policy to avoid any nasty surprises later down the line, and ask them if they’ll match deals being offered by competing retailers, as this will allow you to do most of your shopping in one place.

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