The Black Friday scams in Norway you should watch out for
Black Week and Black Friday have become mainstays in Norway. Many people get a lot of e-mails and messages with discounted offers and links to collect their goods at this time of year, and fraudsters tend to take advantage of this fact.
Fraudsters operating in Norway are quick to adapt to seasonal trends.
"Scammers are good at adapting to trends, seasons, and special situations. That is how they exploit our vulnerability. We know that around Black Friday and towards Christmas, when people do a lot of shopping online, there is a lot of fraud related to online shopping.
"The best way to combat online fraud is to enable people to understand what fraud is and how it can be prevented," Karoline Hultman Tømte at the Norwegian Centre for Information Security (NorSIS) warned in a recent press release.
Types of scams
Scammers operate several different types of fraud during Black Week.
Among them, fake pick-up messages, usually payment demands, by e-mail and SMS are pretty frequent. In this type of phishing scam, they try to extract information from consumers.
Fraudsters often pretend to represent brand names that Norwegians trust, such as Posten or PostNord.
Furthermore, scammers also tend to set up and operate fake online stores, send people counterfeit goods, or send no goods at all after a purchase has been made.
How to avoid scams
NorSys has set forward several useful tips for avoiding online shopping scams:
Contact the sender directly: Not sure if a sales email/letter you got is the real deal? Contact the organisation or retailer stated as the email's sender. Do not use the contact information provided in the email/letter you received – look up the contact information using other sources.
Double-check URLs: Make sure to check the web addresses of online stores you plan to shop from. Do they have a brand name in their URL? Is that name suspicious? Note that online fraudsters have become adept at copying well-known brand names. Is the product name used in the URL? This may be a sign that the website is fake. In general, the brand is stated in the web URLs of shops, not product names.
Look up reputation scores and user comments: Always check the reputation of the online store you want to shop from. What are other people's experiences with the store in question? A quick Google search can reveal a lot of useful information.
Is the online store's contact information hidden? Is the contact information for the online store readily available? If it is difficult to get in touch with the store because they do not provide contact information such as addresses, telephone numbers, or e-mails, it may be a sign that the store is suspicious.
Use robust payment solutions: If possible, use payment solutions with buyer protection options, such as PayPal or Klarna. This is particularly important if you are unsure about the reputation of an online store. If you have to pay by card, use a credit card.
You can find more tips on online shopping best practices on the webpage of the Norwegian Consumer Protection Agency, here.