NordVPN Survey Reveals Alarming Online Shopping Scam Statistics Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • Survey reveals 34 million Americans have been scammed on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
  • Nearly 160 million US shoppers (48%) plan to join the holiday bargain hunt this year.
  • The number of people who've been scammed online jumped 3% year over year.

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, a survey by the cybersecurity company NordVPN revealed that nearly 34 million Americans have fallen victim to online shopping scams on Black Friday or Cyber Monday in the past. Additionally, almost 160 million US shoppers (48%) plan to embark on this year's biggest bargain hunts.

Ahead of the busiest shopping events of the year, consumers must arm themselves with cybersecurity knowledge to protect their wallets and personal information.

African American man is sitting on the floor, using a credit card and smart phone. He is doing online Christmas shopping.

Image: Riska, iStock

34 million Americans scammed on Black Friday or Cyber Monday

According to the NordVPN survey, a staggering 34 million Americans have fallen victim to online shopping scams during Black Friday or Cyber Monday in the past. This alarming number highlights the growing threat cybercriminals pose during the holiday shopping season.

The survey also found that nearly 40% of Americans have experienced an online shopping scam in the past, which is a 3% increase from the previous year. Even more concerning, every fourth American who has been scammed while shopping has encountered it specifically on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Rising interest in online shopping, higher risk of scams

As Black Friday approaches, cyber scammers have set their sights on a significant portion of the American population. A whopping 48% of US shoppers intend to participate in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas sales online this year, marking a 5% increase from the previous year. An additional 35% are still undecided.

Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN, warns, "We have seen in the past that cybercriminals become very active during the shopping season, so 160 million Americans who plan to take advantage of the deals this year should better be on guard. The main thing we encourage people to remember this shopping season is if the offer looks too good to be true or a lot of personal information is requested for you to get a deal — you are probably being scammed."

Willingness to share personal information for deals

The survey also revealed that a concerning 87% of Americans are willing to provide some personal data in exchange for bonus gifts, discounts, or free services. This percentage remains unchanged from the previous year. Among those who have previously experienced online shopping scams, 89% would share their information to secure a deal.

Surprisingly, 5% of American online shoppers surveyed would divulge their credit card details, 2% would disclose their social security numbers, and 12% would reveal where they work. 

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Parents may share kids' info to score deals

Shockingly, the NordVPN survey revealed that 4% of parents would even disclose their children's names for the chance to get a better deal.

Learn how to protect your kids' online identity in our series by SafeWise expert Pete Canavan.

Protecting yourself from online shopping scams

To stay safe while shopping online this holiday season, NordVPN cybersecurity experts offer the following tips:

  • Limit the information you share: Provide only the necessary information for a transaction and shipment.
  • Check the website's URL: Ensure you are on the correct website by verifying the URL.
  • Beware of shortened URLs: Avoid clicking on shortened URLs. Instead, manually enter complete website addresses.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi: Refrain from shopping on public Wi-Fi networks or use a VPN for added security.
  • Use protection tools: Employ tools like NordVPN's Threat Protection to identify suspicious websites.
  • Monitor your bank statements: Keep a close eye on your bank statements to detect any suspicious transactions.

"Additionally, people can also add extra security while using a virtual credit card," Warmenhoven advises. "It allows people to use a temporary number to shop online without showing the seller your real credit card details."

As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, staying vigilant and informed is crucial to protecting yourself from online shopping scams. Don't let cybercriminals ruin your shopping experience; stay safe and enjoy the incredible deals responsibly.

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Disclaimer: Portions of this article were assisted by automation technology. All content therein has been augmented, thoroughly edited, and fact-checked by our in-house editorial staff of human safety experts.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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