Black Friday iTunes scam alert

Updated: 
Retail store imageToday is "Black Friday" - the day on which the pre-Christmas bargains start to emerge, online and offline. Watch companies, Apple and many other retailers are offering discounts (some have been doing so all week) which will end tonight. Unfortunately there are also scammers out there - so here are some things to watch for.

Initial reports of scams came from America, but it's likely that British scammers or international no-gooders will attempt something similar.

When is iTunes not iTunes?

Early reports suggest that there is an iTunes voucher scam doing the rounds. You get a mail saying someone has sent you a $50 iTunes voucher (one month before Christmas and they're sending a gift voucher, yeah, right).

You open the mail, click the Zip file and of course it spreads malware all over your computer.

The reports so far have been about iTunes fraud - these are fake emails, there is no suggestion at all that Apple is doing anything untoward - but it would be a bit of a surprise if the issue were limited to that brand. Watch out for any gift certificates that ask you to click through to a link, they're almost certainly fake - most genuine ones work by giving you a code to enter at the checkout or to add to your account.

Look out also for poor spelling and badly written emails, which substantial brands would never tolerate. These, however, are not the acid test they were; the criminal fraternity has twigged that we're not falling for it any more.

Odd name

In case you're wondering, Black Friday gets its name from America when the police dreaded the last Friday in November because of the sheer traffic chaos it would cause. For most consumers it's actually a pretty good day!

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