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Online payment fraud increases by 208% heading into Black Friday
Kaspersky researchers have observed a spike in phishing attacks mimicking e-payment pages in the run-up to the Black Friday shopping period. The total number of financial phishing attacks disguised as e-payment systems more than doubled from September (627,560) to October 2021 (1,935,905), representing a 208% increase. This and other findings are in Kaspersky's Black Friday 2021: How to Have a Scam-Free Shopping Day report.

The sales season attracts the attention of shoppers and retailers, however it is also a favorite of cybercriminals who look to cash in by creating fake pages mimicking the biggest retail platforms and e-payment systems.

During the first ten months of 2021, Kaspersky products detected more than 40 million phishing attacks targeting e-commerce platforms, as well as banking institutions. While stores rebounded in 2021 after a difficult 18 months, Kaspersky researchers didn't observe the typical seasonal trends for phishing related to online shopping, which would usually feature a spike in phishing pages with too-good-to-be-true sale offers or growth of retail-related scams.

However, there is one notable exception. In 2021, the total number of financial phishing attempts targeting e-payment systems more than doubled from September (627,560) to October (1,935,905) - a 208% increase. This year has seen introduction of new payment systems in various countries due to their unmatched convenience. As consumer adoption has skyrocketed, fraudsters started to actively exploit such systems as a lure to spread malicious activity.

There also has been a rise in the number of spam letters detected by Kaspersky's products. Researchers spotted an active spread of spam emails, featuring 221,745 emails containing the words "Black Friday" during the month amid the sales season, from October 27 to November 19.

Kaspersky researchers have also analyzed which popular platforms were used as bait to spread phishing pages. The results showed that Amazon was consistently the most popular lure used, when looking at the total number of phishing attempts using its name. For the majority of 2021, the second most popular was eBay, followed by Alibaba and Mercado Libre.



The number of phishing attempts using shopping platforms as a lure in 2021

"We always witness intensified scamming activity amid the Black Friday season," said Tatyana Shcherbakova, security expert at Kaspersky. "Perhaps a bit more unexpected is the attention being paid to e-payment systems. This time, we discovered a huge increase in the number of attacks mimicking the most popular payment systems. Of course, every new payment application is seen by scammers as a new opportunity to potentially exploit users.

"So, in order to protect your data and finances it will be a safe practice to make sure the online payment page is secure: you'll know it is if the web page's URL begins with HTTPS instead of the usual HTTP and an icon of a lock will also typically appear beside the URL."

To learn more about Black Friday tricks and scams, visit Securelist.com.

To enjoy the best that Black Friday has to offer this year, be sure to follow a few safety recommendations:

  • Use a reliable security solution, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites - both on your computer and mobile device.
  • Do not open attachments or click on links in emails from banks, e-payment apps, or shopping portals, particularly if the sender insists on it. It is better to go to the official website directly and log in to your account from there.
  • Double-check the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name, as well as read reviews and check the domain's registration data before filling out any information.
  • Be wary of any deals that seem too good to be true - they usually are.
Published Monday, November 22, 2021 10:15 AM by David Marshall
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