The biggest online shopping day of the year may be Cyber Monday, but for the Bitcoin community it is Bitcoin Black Friday.

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Bitcoin has grown in popularity with the online community as a secure alternative method of paying for goods and services online. On Bitcoin Black Friday, transactions using the currency increase substantially. Last year, on November 28th, more Bitcoin transactions took place than on any single day in the history of the currency. This year promises to be even bigger.

Bitcoin Black Friday is a day when bitcoin buyers are given amazing discounts on their online purchases, and are able to pick up amazing deals on jewelry, holidays, gifts, electronic gadgets, domain registrations, and much more. The only condition being all purchases must be made using Bitcoin. Last year over 600 online retailers took part and offered special offers to kick start the holiday shopping season. In 2015, the number of participating merchants is expected to be double that figure.

Since the online currency can be used to make anonymous purchases, it has proven popular with online criminals. Bitcoin Black Friday is the day when theft of Bitcoin increases substantially. It is also a day when users of the currency are fooled into revealing their personal information to criminals.

Bitcoin Black Friday Phishing Website Launched

Criminals have targeted Black Friday purchasers by launching a new website offering bargains galore. The site offers numerous discounts for purchasers, with many apparently genuine deals.

The website bitcoinblackfriday.info is a rip off of a genuine offer site; piggybacking on the name of the genuine dotcom version of the site.

The rip off site looks similar in style to the genuine article but, instead of providing visitors with real offers, it links to phishing websites that will relieve users of their personal information and Bitcoin. These mock websites were set up to closely mimic real sites, albeit with slight differences. Unless visitors had used the real site before and were familiar with the layout, they would likely be convinced that they were visiting a genuine online retailer. Most of the phishing websites linked to from the .info site were set up in in the past few days. This is a clear sign that the sites are not genuine, but few people would likely check before making a purchase.

It is not clear whether the owner of the .info website was aware that the site was being used to host links to phishing websites or if the domain had specifically been set up with phishing in mind.

The links contained on the .info version of the website look convincing. For instance, adverts were placed on the website that link to variants of popular store names such as “buy-trezor.com” instead of “buytreznor.com.” Many purchasers are therefore likely to be fooled.

Since many deals were not available until Black Friday, the site requested users to leave their email addresses in order to be sent information about the best deals as soon as they were released on the big day. Any person who did will not only receive Black Friday offers, but their email addresses are likely to be used to send further email scams.

Bitcoin users should be wary. It is not only credit cards that online criminals seek. Bitcoin and personal information are just as valuable to online thieves. On Bitcoin Black Friday, when special deals are offered for a very limited time, users should be extra careful. The golden rule is to always take time to verify the genuineness of a website before parting with any money or divulging any personal information.