Holiday shopping season is in full effect. And true to form, holiday shopping brings with it the holiday scamming season. The National Retail Federation estimates holiday shoppers will spend close to 720.89 billion dollars this season. That number is up more than 4 percent from last year. And last year consumers spent nearly 20 billion over the internet alone. But with the increase in holiday spending comes an increase in holiday scamming. As a result, hackers and social engineers will be looking for any means to take as large a bite out of that number as possible.
Last year, internet fraud attempts increased by 22 percent during the holiday shopping season. With the increase in online spending, that number is sure to rise with it. Holiday hackers are finding new and more creative ways to try and steal your cash. Which is why it is more important than ever to learn how to protect yourself and identify scams before falling victim. The Better Business Bureau is recommending that consumers use a credit card when shopping online as opposed to a debit card linked directly to your checking or savings account. Credit cards have security measures and policies designed to protect consumers in the event of fraud.
Holiday Shopping brings Holiday Scamming
The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a number of online and holiday scams targeting your pocketbook. The majority of these scams exist online due to security measures such as chip card readers used by brick-and-mortar stores. These scams include the following:
- Cloned websites & Emails – These are websites designed to look like legitimate brands or banking sites. They use look-alike URLs use added words or misspelled names. Always check the URL and never go to any sites through emails or text messages. It is best to either use a credible search engine or type the URL in yourself. Always make sure the site you are visiting uses a Secure Socket Layer encryption. For example an SSL will display https: as opposed to http: prior to the URL.
- Fake shipping notifications – These notifications often hide a fake URL or website that once clicked, downloads and installs malware onto your system. This malware is then used to break into your system and steal data.
- Letters from Santa – While these are legitimate services offered to parents, some of these personalized letters from Santa can mimic the real letters in an effort to collect personal data or install malware. The BBB.org offers a service to verify these cards as legitimate.
- Emergency scam – If someone contacts you claiming to be a family member in need, always contact that family member directly to verify. It could be a scammer trying to trick you into sending money or personal information
Other scams include but are not limited to phony charities, temporary holiday jobs, free gift cards and social media gift exchange.
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