Avoiding Holiday Scams

As the 2018 holiday season kicks off, consumers head online looking for the best deals and prices. The number of online shoppers grows each year becoming especially heavy during holidays. According to RISKIQ, during the 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday the total sales equaled to more than $19 billion, this number is said to grow this season. Every year the number of consumers shopping online on mobile phones and tablets grows. This time of year, is especially appealing for bad actors looking to lure shoppers giving up their private information.

Cyber criminals go lengths trying various social engineering methodologies to lure victims. Online scams are plenty and it is crucial for consumers to be aware and take caution when shopping. Scammers set up malicious apps, fake websites, or fake coupons. They will also send out phishing emails which contain unsolicited malicious links, attachments, or advertisements that contain malware. Malicious apps will often contain malware, adware, ransomware, or be credit card skimmers. By offering low prices, limited deals threat actors will get targets ‘buy’ products and give up information. Unfortunately, these are the same tactics used by retailers to incite shoppers, therefore it is important for shoppers to be vigilant when shopping.

Here are some ways you can take caution when shopping this holiday season:

  • When shopping online, go on websites that start with ‘HTTPS’. A website starting with ‘HTTP’ is usually outdated, unsafe, and may contain malware.
  • Avoid clicking links and opening attachments in your inbox. If you believe the email is safe, go on a web browser and go on the website directly.
  • You can check if a website, link, or attachment is safe by going to www.virustotal.com.
  • Never shop using public Wi-Fi spots, although they may seem trustworthy it is possible for people to set up free Wi-Fi accounts using the same name as the cafe or store
  • Do not buy products when the website asks for third party forms of transactions such as wire transfers, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards. These unusual forms of payments cannot be traced back
  • Always use a credit card over a debit card. When using a debit card, money is taken out your account directly and can be hard to get back. Whereas, when using a credit card the money is taken from the credit card company and they will try to get it back for you.

If you think you were a victim of a Holiday Cyber Scam, contact LIFARS as soon as possible. Our team will assist you!