According to a report by Internet crime experts BrandShield Systems, NLINE shopping fraud is a booming industry, with PlayStation and Nike being the two retailers most targeted by cybercriminals.
The AIM-listed firm scans the internet to detect counterfeit sales and calls it “brand abuse” online.
It says suspicious “domain registrations” increased from October to November last year, particularly on PlayStation and Nike. Apple’s Airpods were also heavily targeted.
With Black Friday tomorrow and “Cyber Monday” the weekend after, retailers and consumers need to be on their toes.
Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield, said: “We expect cybercriminal activity targeting online shoppers to accelerate further this year, and we have already begun to see fraudulent product listings and websites.
“The critical holiday shopping period calls for even greater vigilance by consumers to ensure that they are not passing sensitive personal or financial information to fraudsters who are looking to capitalize on deal-seekers.”
BrandShield warned consumers to be aware of several specific scams, including typos with website names, and text via social media platforms that sound like good deals.
There is a growing debate among retail and consumer groups as to whether Black Friday is really a good deal for shoppers in any case.
Ald Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyd’s Bank, said: “Consumers are likely to be overwhelmed by Black Friday offers this year, despite the inevitable boost to high street and online sales.
“Retailers have long been eager to reduce any pre-Christmas discounts, with the now almost month-long nature of Black Friday designed to keep prices up, protect margins and avoid a race to the bottom. Has gone.”
Scott Parsons of Westfield said: “Although there is no major focus on Black Friday activity in Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, this date usually marks the start of the Christmas shopping season for our retailers.
“In addition to offers and events, brands that have invested in experience-based retail such as new technologies, personalized services and gamified shopping experiences are also expected to do well, with 81% of consumers telling us they are willing to pay more This kind of experience.”