About the Black Friday scams survey
A survey commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by Cint helped us get the gist of how many people have fallen victim to online scams on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It was carried out in 2023 and consists of four questions about people’s shopping habits and scam experiences during Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or Christmas sales. The survey also revealed how many people are ready to reveal their personal details to get better retail deals.
The study was conducted in 12 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Most shopping scams in the UK happen on Black Friday
According to the NordVPN survey, almost a quarter (24%) of Brits have been scammed while shopping online, which is 3% more than last year. Unfortunately, nearly five million Brits were scammed during these foremost bargain hunts – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
However, almost half of Brits seem to have no fear of potential scams while shopping online – almost a half (40%) of the respondents are still ready to take advantage of this year’s biggest sales. In the meantime, 37% of Brits reported that they have yet to decide whether to participate in Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or Christmas sales.
“We have seen in the past that cybercriminals become very active during the shopping season, so the 27 million Brits who plan to take advantage of the deals this year should better be on their guard,” says Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN. “The main thing we encourage people to remember this shopping season is if the offer looks too good to be true or a lot of personal information is requested from you to get a deal — you are probably being scammed.”
Brits share their personal information in exchange for a bargain
A large majority (89%) of the UK respondents revealed that they are willing to disclose at least one piece of personal information (full name, email address, banking information, etc.) to receive a gift, discount, or free service from retailers. Interestingly, as much as 93% of individuals who have previously fallen victim to online shopping fraud would reveal their personal details to retailers in order to receive a better deal.
UK online shoppers revealed that the information they are most likely to disclose is their email address (62%) and their name (53%). While only 4% of the respondents would give up their credit card details, 4% would be willing to reveal their National Insurance number (NIN). Up to 7% of UK bargain hunters would disclose their employer, while 4% would give out their children’s names in exchange for a retailer’s offer.
How to protect yourself from Black Friday scams
While cybercriminals may aim to profit from unsuspecting bargain hunters, you can use the following tips on how to shop safely online and enhance your data security while browsing online shops on Cyber Monday, Black Friday, or Christmas sales.
- Disclose as little personal information as possible. Authorized online shops will never ask for more personal information than necessary for payment and shipping on the order. Also, try using guest checkout to avoid creating an account and unnecessary data sharing.
- Check the URLs. Ensure the website address starts with “https://” rather than just “http://.” In this case, the “s” stands for “secure,” which is what you’re looking for. Watch out for altered online shop names in the URL – entering your personal data into a fake website, such as “n1ke.com” instead of “nike.com” may cause data or even money loss.
- Be wary of shortened URLs. Watch out for URL shorteners like bit.ly or tinyurl.com. If you come across shortened links, try to manually find the offer on the retailer’s website to verify its legitimacy.
- Be cautious while on public hotspots. Avoiding sensitive transactions while connected to a public Wi-Fi is a crucial countermeasure against sales scams. Public hotspots are usually less secure than your personal Wi-Fi, possibly exposing you to cybercrimes. However, if you must use a public Wi-Fi network, turn on a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic.
- Use online security tools. Security solutions like NordVPN’s Threat protection may protect you from landing on malicious websites that hackers set up to steal your credentials or other sensitive information.
- Keep an eye on your bank statements. Monitoring your bank statements for suspicious transactions may be the cornerstone of detecting fishy activity on your bank account.
The survey was commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by the external companies Cint, Norstat (Sweden and Poland), and Syno International (Austria and Switzerland) on October 16-27, 2023. The survey’s target group was residents of the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland aged 18+, and the sample was taken from national internet users. The number of respondents per country was 1,000, except for Spain (800) and Switzerland (800). Quotas were placed on age, gender, and place of residence.