While people in South Africa celebrate Black Friday bargains, it’s a good time to remind customers to watch out for Black Friday fraud. Photo: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

While people in South Africa, the US, UK and other nations celebrate Black Friday bargains, it’s a good time to remind customers to watch out for Black Friday fraud. 

People have two chances to make themselves vulnerable, when taking out cash at an ATM and when taking advantage of Cyber Monday, when card-not-present (CNP) fraud spikes.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday will probably see record levels of payments fraud this year,” said Gabriel Hopkins, vice president of fraud product management at FICO. “With this in mind, here are some simple ways for shoppers to protect themselves from Black Friday Fraud while splurging on seasonal bargains.”

Take Care at ATMs

If an ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash.

Never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. Never engage in conversations with others around an ATM. Remain in your automobile until other ATM users have left the ATM.

If your plastic card is captured inside of an ATM, call your card issuer immediately to report it. Sometimes you may think that your card was captured by the

ATM when in reality it was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture. Either way, you will need to arrange for a replacement card as soon as possible.

Be Safe Online

If you experience anything odd on a website, look for another place to shop. If you’ve already paid and later become suspicious that you may have been tricked, let your bank know.

Watch out for emails promising amazing bargains. Rather than click on a link in an email or SMS, go to the site itself. Hackers can even spoof websites, so make sure you’re shopping on the actual site.

If you’re setting up a new account with a website, use a strong password you haven’t used before.
Check your Purchases

Check your card transactions frequently, using online banking and your monthly statement.

Work with Your Card Issuer

Ask your card issuer for a new card number if you suspect that your payment card may have been compromised. It’s important to change both your card number and your PIN whenever you experience a potential theft of your personal information.

Ask your card provider if they offer account alert technology that will deliver SMS text communications or emails to you in the event that fraudulent activity is suspected on your payment card.

Update your address and cell phone information for every card you have, so that you can be reached if there is ever a critical situation that requires your immediate attention.

Watch Out for Social Engineering

If you get a call from someone who says they’re from your bank, and you feel suspicious, hang up and call your bank directly. Your bank will never ask you for your password. Criminals know people are worried about fraud in the holidays, and may take this opportunity to try to get you to divulge information.

In general, if something seems too good to be true, take a moment to be suspicious. For more information on securing your online accounts, watch this video:


FICO is a leading analytics software firm.