Black Friday is approaching, and you should be aware of scams. Thirty percent of people in the US reported receiving phishing messages around Black Friday.
“[N]early a third of U.S. consumers (30%) said they received a phishing email around Black Friday last year, either by email or SMS to their personal email or cell,” the researchers write. “The thing is that consumers expect to receive more marketing and advertising emails from retailers during this time, touting their deals, along with updates about their orders and notifications about deliveries. Inboxes are noisier-than-usual and this makes it easier for cybercriminals to ‘hide’ their malicious messages. What’s more, attackers can leverage the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals people are expecting to receive, using them as lures to successfully deceive their victims. When the email looks like it has come from a legitimate brand and email address, people are more likely to click on malicious links that lead to fake websites or download harmful attachments.”
Tessian also says that business employees must be especially vigilant for phishing attacks during the busiest time of the year.
“And it’s not just consumers that need to be wary,” Tessian says. “Employees in the retail industry will be busier and more distracted than ever during this time, faced with hundreds of orders, thousands of customer queries to respond to, and overwhelming sales targets to hit. Cybercriminals will use this to their advantage, crafting sophisticated phishing emails and cleverly worded social engineering messages in the hope that a stressed worker will miss the cues and comply with their requests.”
Tessian recently concluded that companies must equip their employees to recognize and defend against social engineering attacks.
“In fact, security leaders in the retail industry told us that they aren’t 100% confident that their staff will be able to identify the scams that land in their inbox during these busier periods,” the researchers write. “Being made aware of the scams and being provided with sound advice – in-the-moment – on what to do if they do receive a phishing email will make the difference between whether an employee clicks on the link or shares their credentials versus if they don’t.”
It’s worth remembering that Black Friday creep is a natural phenomenon. It’s like Halloween creep, which causes candy to appear in stores during summer months. Scammers won’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving to attack, so they’ll strike at any time.