Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday, takes place on the first Monday after the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, and has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It's a day when online retailers offer great deals and shoppers flock to the internet to partake of them.
However, along with the great deals come innumerable online scams, so it's a time for consumers to take extra care with their pocketbooks and personal information. Cyber Monday 2022 dawned with this warning tweeted by an FBI field office. Take heed:
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the volume of reported instances of online scamming has risen 87% since 2015. "So far in 2022," the BBB reported in October of this year, "scams perpetrated online are more prevalent (55%) than other delivery methods, with a higher percentage of people losing money when targeted (75%)." Consumers should take these warnings seriously.
One of the most frequently asked questions about online scams is how consumers can tell when an ad or social media post is attempting to con them. We've shared this basic rule of thumb before:
The best general advice we've heard for detecting scams comes in the form of an adage: "If an offer seems too good to be true, it very likely is." There's also a corollary: "It's better to be safe than sorry." If you find yourself tempted to click when someone appears to be offering something for nothing, don't do it!
What kinds of come-ons should you watch out for? Here's a short list:
- Fake Cash App payments
- Bogus giveaway offers
- Impersonation scams
- Nonexistent cash or merchandise prices
- Special deep-discount anniversary coupons
- Offers of rewards for taking online surveys
- "Phishing" posts that ask for your personal information
See our special report, How to Detect and Avoid Online Scams, for more specifics about these scams and what to do if you feel you've been scammed. In addition, we've compiled a list of 24 specific online scams we've investigated in the past.
The BBB also details the kinds of scams to watch out for and offers prevention tips for consumers.