We’re nearing that time of year where holiday shopping and deals saturate the market. Everywhere you look, there are doorbuster deals, year-end discounts and limited time offers. The days that follow Thanksgiving are expected to be filled with shopping sprees both in-stores and online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In 2016, shoppers spent a record-breaking $3.39 billion during Cyber Monday. While consumers prepare to do their holiday shopping and take advantage of big deals, cybercriminals wait patiently for the perfect opportunity to strike, taking advantage of the consumers during the holiday shopping frenzy.
Take a moment to become familiar with four common Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams to ensure a safe holiday shopping experience this year.
Cybercriminals will be quick to take advantage of consumers via email, especially in the form of a delivery confirmation. It’s likely that many people are purchasing items and gifts online, so naturally, they expect a confirmation email to come through. Be aware that hackers may send fake confirmation emails that look legitimate. Before clicking, double check the sender’s email address. A safer option is going directly to the website and check on the status of your order through your account.
Who doesn’t love a gift-card? It’s a convenient option when you’re stumped and don’t know what to get someone. However, after purchasing an e-gift card from second party websites, you may end up with a product that is counterfeit, a previously used gift card or nothing at all. Stay safe by purchasing directly from the retailer online or by the physical store.
Keep an eye out for stores that seem to pop out of nowhere, containing incredible deals and low prices on common and popular items. It isn’t difficult for hackers to craft a fake online store selling fake products. Make sure to do your research before committing to an online purchase from an unfamiliar store.
With the amount of transactions and purchases made during the holiday season, phony refunds are another scam to watch out for. These deceptions will come through your email disguised as a hotel refund, an item reimbursement or phrased as a “wrong transaction, click for refund.” Falling for this trick can result in a malware spill into your computer or mobile device.
Letting your guard down during a scam-heavy season such as the holidays could put your personal devices and private information at risk. Avoid these scams by performing sufficient research on purchases, knowing your deals and securing your financial information. Bottom line is to use common sense. You’ve heard it before: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Stay cyber-safe this holiday season and refer to our blog for more tips and cybersecurity resources.