Black Friday is an American shopping tradition that has found popularity all over the world in recent years. It refers to the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday, which is always the fourth Thursday in November. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and retailers traditionally have big sales with substantial discounts on this day to entice shoppers. While not an official holiday, many people have the day off and use it to shop for bargains. Brick-and-mortar stores are famously inundated with huge crowds of customers looking for good deals. The tradition naturally extended into the digital realm, and online retailers also began offering good deals on Black Friday, frequently extending into the following week.
As online shopping became more prevalent at the beginning of the 21st century, an interesting trend was noticed – online sales were spiking significantly on the Monday following Black Friday. It was believed that this was because people were back at work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and using their work internet connection to shop online. This was probably because it was faster than their home connection, but also probably because it offered more privacy and no risk of loved ones getting a sneak peek at their Christmas presents. The term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 and online merchants started offering exclusive deals on this day as well. Cyber Monday has also become a modern tradition in the USA.
As many parts of the world are exposed to American culture and tradition through various media, the concepts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been adopted all over the world, with considerable success in some regions.
With any period of increased sales, both merchants and consumers should expect a corresponding rise in fraud. Criminals take advantage of the fact that merchants are extremely busy during this period and therefore may overlook things that they might take a second look at during less busy periods. Let’s look at some of the most common types of fraud online merchants can expect during this period, and some steps they can take to mitigate them.
Credit Card Fraud
True credit card fraud involves a criminal using stolen credit card information to make purchases. If the victim is a busy shopper over this time, they may not notice an extra transaction or two slip through. They may not even pick it up on their card statement if they have made lots of purchases. However, if they do pick it up they could request a chargeback, which is not good for the merchant. Merchants should ensure that they have excellent fraud prevention software services, which use various methods to curb credit card fraud.
Account Takeover Fraud
Criminals make great use of phishing scams during this period to obtain the login credentials to shopping sites of consumers. They then simply log in, shop using stored card information and change delivery addresses. Again, merchants should use fraud prevention tools that can recognize unusual shopping patterns and flag transactions as suspicious or fraudulent.
Merchants should also invest in good security techniques for their users’ accounts, such as requiring authentication when delivery addresses are changed and sending confirmation emails for purchases or changes.
There is one method used by criminals that requires no technical expertise – simply walking off with a package left unattended on a doorstep. The customer will request a chargeback, claiming that they never received the goods, which is true, although not because the merchant did not ship. Merchants should spend a little extra and use shipping services which make use of parcel tracking and signed proof of delivery.
Scammers take advantage of the desire to bargain hunt at this time by creating fake websites, even going so far as to advertise too good to be true deals. These fake websites could even mimic established and legitimate websites. Shoppers are tricked into either revealing their login credentials to legitimate sites, or providing their credit card information when buying goods that will never be delivered. Merchants should make their customers aware of these scams, and advise on their legitimate offerings. Merchants should also be paying attention to social media at this time and be on the lookout for advertisements for their goods or services that they did not place. There are specialized companies that offer monitoring and takedown actions for fake sites. However they do come at a high price and their services are usually out of reach for smaller merchants.
Is your business offering Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even Cyber Week sales in 2022? Have you adequately prepared your staff for the potential fraud risks? Merchants who partner with us at Baer’s Crest for their payment services can rest assured in this busy time that security is our priority. Our fraud monitoring tools help radically reduce the risk of true fraud, and we offer a chargeback guarantee* service for selected merchants. Our chargeback dispute service also takes the hassle out of fighting chargebacks for the merchant, letting them get on with what matters most – making sales. Talk to us at Baer’s Crest about secure payment services for your business, at reasonable rates.
*subject to terms and conditions