Black Friday, one of the biggest discount events of the year, is a period when brands break sales records. According to research, online sales figures for the year 2022 had reached $9 billion in the United States alone. Black Friday presents a significant opportunity for brands to boost their profits but it also serves as an opportunity for cybercriminals to sell counterfeit products as well. Global cybersecurity company Cheq has estimated that more than a third (35.7%) of Black Friday online shoppers this year were bots and fake users.
Singles' Day, November 11, is a sales event day that emmerged in opposition to Valentine's Day. It is more popular in Asia, its birthplace, than in Europe and the West. Therefore Alibaba and JD.com racked up around $139 billion of sales across their platforms on China’s Singles Day shopping event, setting a new record. In terms of the products that shoppers are buying, at one level, shoppers are concentrating spending on necessities such as tissues, handwash, instant noodles, and pet food, while also trading down and buying less in discretionary or big-ticket categories such as home appliances and furniture.
So what are the most common methods fraudsters use to sell counterfeit goods during the Black Friday and 11.11 sales?
A few different forms of domain fraud can cause brands to lose sales, customers, and most importantly, their positive reputation. Using common misspellings of brand names to take over a domain and pretend to be that brand is known as "typosquatting," and it's one of the most popular techniques used by dishonest fraudsters. Another strategy is to use a different ending, such.info instead of.com, or attach a word, like "online" or "shop," to the end of the company's name. These websites frequently use identical branding, trademarks, photos, and designs.
During Black Friday last year, security firm Mimecast scanned the Internet for over two weeks and detected nearly 14,000 suspicious internet domains that spoofed 20 major retail brands. “Consumers should therefore be vigilant and make sure they take the recommended steps to keep their data safe while shopping online,” says Carl Wearn, the head of E-Crime at Mimecast.
The quantity of fake goods skyrockets on Black Friday every year. A 2019 study by The Anti-Counterfeiting Group found that 25% of people have bought a fake on Black Friday in 2019 since price drops make it harder for people to spot a fake . Businesses suffer greatly from counterfeit goods, which result in lost revenue, harm to their brand, a decline in partner trust, and the need to expend resources against the fakes. This issue is especially frequent in the fashion and luxury industries.
Fake social media profiles
To mimic a brand on social media, a scammer only needs to replicate its hashtags, logos, and content. Scammers are using social media more and more frequently to sell counterfeit goods or steal private client information. Fake brand pages frequently employ forceful advertising tactics to draw brand consumers to a fraudulent website where the scam transaction is completed.
There is various types of phishing emails, one very popular phishing strategy is that fraudsters send an email or SMS saying "missed delivery" from DHL, Hermes, or Royal Mail. Another typical scam emails can invite recipients to renew their memberships or offer exclusive discounts if they click on the link which could lead to a fake website or possibly be loaded with malware. From October itself, Egress analysts noticed a 50% spike in the volume of such emails, which they claim is occurring considerably earlier this year than expected.
Third Party Marketplace Counterfeits
Among the most widely used platforms for selling fake goods online are e-commerce websites like AliExpress, eBay and Amazon. Using these huge websites, scammers are able to consistently avoid detection. It is common for brand owners to discover listings that violate their patents, trademarks, designs and other intellectual property. In the days prior to Christmas these markets frequently host massive sales, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the 11.11 Singles festival in China.
How to protect your brand from online scams during this Black Friday and Single's Day
There are ways businesses can protect themselves from the cyber attacks of Black Friday. Most effective, is to purchase Counterfake’s AI powered software that will protect your digital revenue during the holidays against scammers.
Because a consumer who purchases a fake good from a fraudster's website costs a company more than just one sale. It's the start of a bad reputation, which can harm your business and cause you to lose customers.