Fake online stores flood the internet ahead of Black Friday

As the holiday season approaches, the number of blocked fake retail sites has more than doubled compared to the previous year. Experts are urging shoppers to be cautious.

Research conducted by Netcraft, a company providing fraud protection solutions, showed that at the end of October 2023, there was a 135% increase in the number of blocked fake online stores compared to October last year, showing alarming growth.

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many authentic websites offer huge discounts on real products, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to exploit trusting shoppers.

According to Netcraft, fake online stores impersonate the websites of luxury brands and established retailers and claim to offer highly discounted goods. The primary goal is to steal shoppers' payment details, which are either used directly or sold to other cybercriminals.

One common technique that fake retail sites use is copying authentic logos, trademarks, and products from the spoofed site to enhance the scam's credibility.

Another technique used by cybercriminals is hosting fake sites on domains that closely resemble another well-known company. A common tactic is to add a country name to the brand, suggesting that they’re authorized suppliers in various regions. The goal remains the same – deceiving users into thinking that they’re engaging with a reliable website.

Netcraft emphasizes that not every fraudulent retail site will mimic well-known brands or online stores. Many will appear as generic, unbranded online retail platforms, with criminals offering big discounts on luxury items in the hope of luring bargain-seeking customers.

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