Online Holiday Shopping Scams Abound with the Onset of the Holiday Shopping Season
Online holiday shopping scams are an inevitable part of every December. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Issued a warning this week to consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent websites, phishing emails, and fake charities.
The cybercriminals behind the onslaught of online holiday shopping scams set up fake websites that look remarkably similar to well-known brands, they use these spoofed websites to trick shoppers into thinking they’re inputting their payment information and personal details into a legitimate eCommerce website. The stolen information results in financial losses . However, the stolen details may also result in identity theft, phishing email attacks, and other online scams.
Stolen personal details and payment cards often end up on dark web marketplaces so they can be sold to other hackers.
“Be especially cautious of fraudulent sites spoofing reputable businesses, unsolicited emails purporting to be from charities, and unencrypted financial transactions,” says CISA.
The feds once again are warning holiday shoppers this year to be vigilant for harmful websites, phishing emails, and other online scams. Cybercriminals capitalize on the busy shopping season with attempts to trick hurried holiday shoppers with fake order confirmations showing large dollar amounts to scare shoppers into thinking someone has stolen their payment card. Scammers also send scan emails with harmful links or email attachments which can download malware or spyware to a computer.
Another common holiday scam is to solicit donations to fake charities. The fraudsters either steal the donation or steal the donors’’ credit card numbers.
Online holiday shoppers should review the following resources
- Holiday Online Shopping Safety Tips
- FTC Warns of Vacation Scams
- Holiday Shopping – How to Protect Your Money
- How to Avoid Holiday Scams
- The safest way to purchase online
In addition to spoofed websites and fake order confirmation emails, cyber criminals also pretend to be charity soliciting donations. It’s always good to be suspicious of any email that contains prompts to click on a link to download an attachment or share payment information.
- Consumers should scrutinize every email they receive especially when it deals with eCommerce or any request for payment – like an invoice or an order confirmation .
- Always go to the official website directly and manage your account or payment information from there
- When in doubt, pick up the phone and call the number listed and the official brand or charity website . Never use the contact information or any links an unsolicited email
- Never reply to an email with payment information or your password
- use a secure form of payment like a digital wallet or credit card that offers protection in the case of fraud
Victims Should Report Online Holiday Shopping Scams
- Report the incident to your local police
- File a complaint on the Federal Trade Commission’s Report Fraud page
- Report the crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- Change all passwords immediately
- Always use a unique and hard to guess password for each online account