The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tells consumers to beware of holiday shopping scams and malicious cyberattacks this season. CISA explains that criminals may send emails or ecards with malicious links or attachments. According to idwatchdog.com, these are the many forms of holiday shopping scams. Knowing what to look for will help protect your identity and money while you search for the perfect gifts online. Over the next three posts, we will explore what to look for and go over 12 tips to protect ourselves.
Fraudulent Ads, Emails, Calls, and Texts – Holiday Scams Come in Many Forms
Fraudsters often use the holidays to push themed scams through online ads, fake calls, phishing emails, and text messages that look like they’re from businesses. Worst part? These scams are often carefully made and branded. The scams look like they came from an actual store or other company and for a real reason.
In 2018, a report said that hackers sent holiday-themed phishing emails that looked like Amazon order confirmations. There was malware in these emails that tried to get people’s passwords and log their keystrokes, so if the person clicked on the link or opened the attachment, the hacker received the unsuspecting person’s information.
As a way to get people to enter their personal or financial information into fake mobile apps and web pages for holidays or current events, cybercriminals may show off fake apps and web pages for Black Friday or other events.
Another holiday shopping scam used the messaging service WhatsApp. Scammers try to get people to buy popular products at low prices. They sometimes make the scam look real, like from the deal is from Amazon.com.
Hackers are Even Gift Cards for Cyber Scams
According to reports, gift card fraud is becoming more popular among people who want to steal money. Scammers can use bots to try out a million different combinations of gift card numbers and PINs on the websites of stores that sell them. They spend or sell the card information as soon as they find a working gift card. When they try to use the card, individuals find out that there is little to no money left on it.
Other scammers focus on finding legitimate sites where people sell or buy gift cards at a discount. As a result, making it challenging for buyers to tell if the cards are legitimate or belong to a scammer.
In our next post we review the 6 Tips to Better Protect Your Identity and Finances This Holiday Season
Until Then, This is What to Do in Case of Suspected Fraud
If you genuinely believe you have been the victim of a scam, report it as soon as possible to your bank or credit institution and to the police or proper authority. This will enable you to keep your losses down and start working on a solution.
- File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- Report the incident to your local police.
- Report suspected identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission on their website IdentityTheft.gov