Holiday Shopping season is really an exciting time for both shoppers and retailers. but unfortunately it’s a good time for cyber criminals and scammers also. With Black Friday (28th November 2014) and Cyber Monday (1st December 2014) coming up, you need to be more careful while shopping online.
Millions of eyes will be on retailers to ensure that consumers online shopping experiences are straightforward and, most importantly, secure. So, at the major part, retailers need to pay attention to extra security measures in order to prevent themselves from massive security breaches, like Target data breach that occurred last year during the Black Friday sales in which over 40 million Credit & Debit cards were stolen.
Retailers hope that by offering such big deals on big ticket items like computers and TVs, customers will rise from the couch and their turkey-induced torpor and get out to their stores on Black Friday & Cyber Monday. So, in an effort to secure yourself, here are four of the biggest online scams you should watch out for :
Shopping Security tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
1. Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are mainly fraudulent emails, masquerading as a well known and trustworthy entity in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from victims. However, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated recently.
Keep an eye on scams emails claiming to come from original sources which will ask you to visit a website link actually hosted by cyber criminals in order to steal your personal information like email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers, expiration date, verification code, and much more.
Be careful while opening attachments you receive by email – that special delivery could end up costing you a lot. Always type website name in Google Search Engine and then visit the particular website from those search results, instead visiting through any link provided in messages or emails. Don’t go to websites links you’ve never heard of.
2. Copycat Websites & Typosquatting
In order to fraud an online account holder’s financial information, scammers could pose their website as a legitimate one. Like you got an email from Amazan.com for the hottest deals, and not Amazon, make sure before providing your financial details.
Check properly who emails are from and if it’s an unknown, best way is to avoid the email and the so-called hottest deal. Always go for a website using an HTTPS protocol, before entering a password or any information like address or credit card number.
There are thousands of websites that closely resemble legitimate domains like Amazon, ebay, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Apart from these, there are so many new websites offering online shopping, that it’s quite difficult for customers to say which one is legitimate and which is not.
Many of these websites host exciting contests or advertisements for services to gain your attention and force your finger to click it, while many host malware that can infect your system when you browse to these infected websites. So being in safer side, always shop from legitimate websites which you already know.
3. Infected Fake Ads & Coupons
In holiday customers are always on search for cheap deals, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but your just a small mistake can cost you a lot. Cyber criminals use your desires by creating ‘click-bait’ ads or posting links to ‘the best deal ever’, which will always lead to either a survey, a scam site or even drive-by exploits.
Customers are advised to treat such fake offers with skepticism, especially when the source is unknown and unfamiliar to you. Always keep an updated Antivirus software in the systems, so if any convincing advert does trick you and gain your click, your Antivirus Software will protect you against malwares & scams.
In addition to fake ads, Customers also want to look out for fake online coupons in general. If it sounds too good to be true, visit directly to reputed websites, and if the offer is true because it’s Black Friday sales, it’s all yours.
4. Unexpected Delivery of Gifts SCAM ( You won’t be getting a free iPhone 6 )
During last Black Friday, one of the major scams was offering “$1,000 Best Buy gift cards”, which no one had won. But, a lot of people ended up in giving away their personal information for no reason at all. Customers are advised to avoid such “unexpected gifts” scams, just like your dear ones recommend you to not accept unexpected gifts from strangers. Emails could be a major medium to offer you unwanted gifts, so be careful when opening attachments you receive by email – that special delivery could end up costing you.