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With online shopping becoming more and more of a way of life in the COVID-19 global pandemic, retailers have seen their sales shift to the digital side as well, including Black Friday sales.

However, online shopping does come with its own share of dangers – maybe not health related – but definitely fraud related, according to MyChargeBack, an international financial services firm.

“Online shopping and e-commerce have exploded as a result of COVID-19 and consumers can expect a barrage of phishing scams and malware ahead of Black Friday 2020,” says Michael B. Cohen, MyChargeBack’s Vice President of Global Operations.

“60% of consumers predict that they plan to do all their shopping online this year, and scammers see that as an unprecedented opportunity,” Cohen says, citing a report from Adobe Analytics.

Five Safety Tips for 2020 Online Holiday Shopping

  1. Only purchase on verified, recognized retail brand websites with cyber secure procedures for encoded payment.
  2. Keep in mind that social media platforms are a popular space for scammers to advertise unbeatable big discounts on brand name merchandise, so don’t take a chance on a hard-to-believe price.
  3. Avoid merchants who only allow transactions in cryptocurrency, which is suspect because crypto has become the preferred payment option for scammers.
  4. Beware email phishing scams that link to a spoofed website that looks almost identical to the original.
  5. Never make online purchases over free WiFi networks, since hackers can easily gain access to them, compromise your data and commit identity theft.

Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.