Hacker gangs target PlayStation, Nike and Apple in Black Friday web scams

Black Friday sales (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Black Friday sales (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

ONLINE shopping fraud is a booming industry with PlayStation and Nike the two retailers most targeted by cybercriminals, according to a report by internet crime experts BrandShield Systems.

The AIM-listed firm scans the internet to detect counterfeit sales and what it calls online “brand abuse”.

It says that from October to November last year, suspicious “domain registrations” soared, especially at PlayStation and Nike. Apple’s Airpods were also heavily targeted.

With Black Friday tomorrow and “Cyber Monday” after the weekend, retailers and consumers should be on their toes.

Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield, said: “We anticipate cybercriminal activity targeting online shoppers to intensify further this year, and we have already begun seeing an uptick of fraudulent product listings and websites.

“The critical holiday shopping period calls for even more vigilance by consumers to make sure they are not giving up sensitive personal or financial information to fraudsters looking to capitalise on deal seekers.”

Brandshield warns consumers of several typical scams to be aware of, including typos withing website names, and texts through social media platforms offering what seem like good deals.

There is a growing debate within retail and among consumer groups as to whether Black Friday is actually a good deal for shoppers in any case.

Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank, said: “Consumers are likely to be underwhelmed by this year’s Black Friday offering despite it inevitably boosting High Street and online sales.

“Retailers have long been keen to water down any pre-Christmas discounting, with the now near month-long nature of Black Friday designed to keep prices up, protect margins and avoid a race to the bottom.”

Westfield’s Scott Parsons said: “Though there isn’t a major focus on Black Friday activity at 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-led retail such as new technologies, personalised services and gamified shopping experiences, are also expected to perform well with 81% of consumers telling us they’re willing to pay more for this kind of experience.”

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