Researchers warn shoppers of more than 5,000 Black Friday scam websites

(WHDH) — With many people expected to shop online this Black Friday due to coronavirus concerns, researchers are warning the public to beware of more than 5,000 probable scam and phishing websites that have been registered in recent weeks by cybercriminals who are preparing to fleece shoppers.

Researchers analyzed about 30 million new websites that went online between Nov. 1 and Nov. 20 and found that about 268,000 of the domains contained holiday shopping-related keywords, according to a Comparitech report.

“Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” were the most frequent keyword in newly-registered domains in the United States, the pro-consumer website noted.

A total of 5,466 out of 267,807 new domains containing a Black Friday-related keyword were identified as scam and phishing sites, researchers said.

“One such site, promoblackfriday.online, requires users earn 100 points to get a free iPhone, laptop, or smart TV. Users get 30 points by taking a quiz, then must acquire the remaining 70 points by sharing the scam on social media,” Comparitech wrote as an example of its findings.

Researchers urged shoppers to watch out for copycat domains, such as the following ones that advertise professional sports jerseys:

Researchers also urged shoppers to keep an eye out for common patterns used by scammers, including websites that offer little to no information about the company, social media links that don’t direct to the company’s profile, and basic WordPress layouts, among other things.

All legitimate shopping websites are required to have an HTTPS, and URLs and email domains must be free of typos.

Shoppers should avoid clicking on shopping ads and posts on social media because scammers often lure victims to their sites using email and social media.

For information on how to spot scam websites, click here.

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