Thanksgiving week is a wonderful time for family, food, and fun! It’s also the biggest online shopping week of the entire year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales create a ton of e-commerce traffic. These great deals come with a price: scammers prey on the high volume of shoppers during holiday sales. According to a study conducted by RSA and the Ponemon Institute, 64 percent of organizations see significant increases in attack activity on Cyber Monday. We’ve got a few red flags to look out for while you shop online this year…
If you are unfamiliar with a retailer, think twice before shopping. Look for verified reviews to ensure the site that you’re purchasing from is a legitimate e-commerce store and not a front! Be sure to check the web address. Remember: “https://” is secure; “http://” is not.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Making the distinction between a good deal and a scam becomes a little bit more tricky during this time of year. You’ll have to be extra careful while you shop. Trust your gut! If a sale seems unbelievable – even for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – use caution.
If a retailer contacts you with a gift card offer or an unfamiliar link to click, there may be something phishy going on! Fraudsters can pose as well known retailers. Social engineering has become very advanced, so it can be tough to tell a fake email from a real one! Never enter your payment information when it’s requested out-of-the-blue. Don’t let urgent language like “Deal Ends Today!” or “Act Now!” trick you into responding. These are tactics that scammers use to rush you into making a snap decision.
It’s important to remember that anyone can post ads. Not all ads come from legitimate retailers or sellers. Social media ads can be particularly deceiving because they’re so easy to create. Be sure to verify the seller before purchasing from an in-app ad on Instagram. You can search the URL and look for company reviews online to determine how trustworthy the ad is. If you notice a fake ad, report it to the site that the ad appeared on.
If you are the victim of a scam this shopping season, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Go to FightCybercrime.org to learn how to recognize, report and recover from online shopping scams.
This blog was written by Taryn Porter, a past CSN employee.