How to Protect Yourself and Your Company During Black Friday

ACFE SA Black Friday Message

Message from the ACFE SA CEO


It is that time of the year again and the frenzy to get hold of that “special” you have been looking for or in some cases that product that you have identified to purchase and do not really need has already started…

Many have asked the question as to how you can protect yourself and we therefore have released some tips to help you identify the fraudsters, protect yourself when looking for products, and protect your organisation during this time.

Please note that this list is only a guideline and should not be seen as an exhaustive list!

During Black Friday specials, it's important to be vigilant and aware of potential scams. Here are some common scams to look out for:

  1. Fake Websites: Be cautious of websites that offer unbelievable deals or have URLs that are slightly misspelled versions of well-known retailers. Always double-check the website's legitimacy before making a purchase. 
  2. Phishing Emails: Watch out for phishing emails claiming to offer exclusive Black Friday deals. Avoid clicking on any links in emails unless you are certain they are from a legitimate source. Verify the legitimacy of the email by contacting the retailer directly.
  3. Bait-and-Switch Tactics: Some retailers may advertise a product at an incredibly low price to attract customers, only to claim it's sold out when you try to purchase it. They may then try to sell you a more expensive alternative.
  4. Unsecure Payment Methods: Avoid making purchases on websites that don't use secure payment methods. Look for "https://" in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. Never enter your credit card information on unsecured websites.
  5. False Advertising: Some retailers may exaggerate discounts or advertise products that are not actually on sale. Double-check the prices and compare them to other retailers to ensure you're getting a legitimate deal.
  6. Social Media Scams: Be cautious of ads on social media platforms that offer incredible deals. Some may be scams designed to collect your personal information or payment details.
  7. Counterfeit Products: Watch out for counterfeit goods, especially on online marketplaces. If a deal seems too good to be true, it might be a fake or low-quality product.
  8. Overly Aggressive Sales Tactics: Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics or deals that seem too good to be true from street vendors or temporary pop-up shops. Take your time to research and make informed decisions.
  9. Gift Card Scams: Be cautious of emails or messages claiming to offer Black Friday gift card deals. Scammers may use these tactics to trick you into providing personal information or payment details.
  10. Review Scams: Some sellers may create fake positive reviews to boost their reputation. Before making a purchase, check reviews from multiple sources and look for patterns in feedback.



Customers can take several steps to protect themselves during Black Friday and other shopping events, both online and in-store. Here are some tips:

  1. Use Strong and Unique Passwords:
    • Create strong, unique passwords for your online accounts, and avoid using the same password across multiple sites. Consider using a password manager to help you manage complex passwords.
  2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
    • Enable 2FA whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts. This typically involves receiving a code on your phone or email to verify your identity.
  3. Shop from Secure Websites:
    • Only shop on secure and reputable websites. Look for "https://" in the URL, which indicates a secure connection. Avoid making purchases from websites that look suspicious or have misspelled URLs.
  4. Be Cautious with Email and Phishing Scams:
    • Be wary of emails offering deals that seem too good to be true or asking for personal information. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails. Instead, go directly to the retailer's official website to verify deals or promotions.
  5. Check for Website Legitimacy:
    • Double-check the legitimacy of the website before making a purchase. Look for customer reviews, check the contact information, and ensure the website has a physical address and phone number.
  6. Review Bank and Credit Card Statements:
    • Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. If you notice any discrepancies, report them to your financial institution immediately.
  7. Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards:
    • Credit cards often provide better fraud protection than debit cards. In case of fraudulent transactions, it's usually easier to dispute charges on a credit card.
  8. Beware of Public Wi-Fi:
    • Avoid making online purchases when connected to public Wi-Fi networks, as these networks may be less secure. If you need to make a purchase, use a secure and private network or a virtual private network (VPN).
  9. Update Your Devices and Software:
    • Ensure that your computer, smartphone, and other devices have the latest security updates installed. This helps protect against known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals.
  10. Be Skeptical of Deals That Seem Too Good to Be True:
    • If a deal seems too good to be true, it might be a scam. Exercise caution and verify the legitimacy of the offer before making a purchase.
  11. Keep an Eye on Social Media Privacy Settings:
    • Review and adjust your social media privacy settings to control the information you share publicly. Be cautious about sharing too much personal information online.
  12. Use Secure Wi-Fi and Strong Passwords for Smart Devices:
    • If you're shopping through smart devices like smartphones or tablets, make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure. Also, use strong passwords for your smart devices to prevent unauthorized access.
  13. Monitor Package Deliveries:
    • Keep track of your online orders and monitor the status of package deliveries. If possible, require a signature upon delivery to prevent packages from being left unattended.

By following these tips, customers can enhance their online and in-store shopping security, reduce the risk of falling victim to scams, and enjoy a safer shopping experience during Black Friday and other promotional events.



Preventing fraud during Black Friday, a period with heightened online and in-store activities, is crucial for companies. Here are some strategies that businesses can implement to minimize the risk of fraud:

  1. Enhanced Security Measures:
    • Implement multi-factor authentication for online transactions to add an extra layer of security.
    • Use advanced encryption techniques to protect customer data and financial information.
    • Regularly update and patch software systems to address vulnerabilities.
  2. Real-Time Fraud Monitoring:
    • Employ AI and machine learning algorithms to monitor transactions in real time. These technologies can detect unusual patterns and flag potentially fraudulent activities.
    • Set up alerts for suspicious transactions or high-risk activities, allowing immediate investigation.
  3. User Authentication:
    • Strengthen user authentication processes to ensure that customers are who they claim to be.
    • Consider using biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, for added security.
  4. Educate Customers:
    • Provide information to customers about common fraud schemes and how to recognise phishing attempts.
    • Encourage customers to use strong, unique passwords and to regularly update them.
  5. Secure Payment Processing:
    • Use secure and reputable payment gateways that comply with industry standards for data protection.
    • Monitor and validate transactions, especially for high-value purchases or those from new or unusual locations.
  6. Implement Address Verification System (AVS):
    • Use AVS to verify that the billing address provided during a transaction matches the address on file with the credit card issuer. This helps prevent fraudulent card-not-present transactions.
  7. CAPTCHA and Bot Protection:
    • Implement CAPTCHA or other bot protection mechanisms to prevent automated bots from engaging in fraudulent activities, such as bulk buying or attempting to exploit promotions.
  8. Regularly Update Fraud Prevention Policies:
    • Stay proactive by regularly reviewing and updating fraud prevention policies to adapt to evolving threats.
    • Conduct regular training sessions for staff to keep them informed about the latest fraud trends and prevention strategies.
  9. Customer Verification for High-Risk Transactions:
    • For high-value transactions or those that deviate from the customer's usual behavior, implement additional verification steps such as phone calls or email confirmations.
  10. Collaborate with Payment Providers and Law Enforcement:
    • Work closely with payment service providers to share information and enhance fraud detection capabilities.
    • Collaborate with law enforcement agencies to report and investigate instances of fraud.
  11. Data Security Compliance:
    • Ensure compliance with data security regulations such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to protect customer payment information.
  12. Monitor Social Media and Customer Reviews:
    • Keep an eye on social media channels and customer reviews for any signs of fraudulent activities or customer complaints related to fraud. Respond promptly to address concerns.
  13. Look out for Whaling Scams!!
    • A whaling attack is a type of spear-phishing attack directed at high-level executives where attackers masquerade as legitimate, known and trusted entities and encourage a victim to share highly sensitive information or to send a wire transfer to a fraudulent account. Inform your finance that they should not process payments just because they received an email from the executive team without validating the email address and request.

By combining technology, education, and proactive measures, companies can significantly reduce the risk of fraud during Black Friday and other high-traffic periods. It's essential to maintain a balance between providing a seamless shopping experience and implementing robust security measures.

Update your fraud prevention and detection tools regularly. For more information pertaining the tools available visit or