Criminals have begun their annual flood of cyber-scams intended to steal from people seeking to enjoy shopping online. Following are the recommend things that everyone be aware of and reduce the risk of falling prey:
1. Phony e-greeting cards
Malware can easily be hidden in attachments, and links to retrieve cards can also direct users to phishing sites or to malware-distributing sites. As a matter of safety, don’t open e-greeting cards.
2. Fake delivery-related emails
During holiday season most Americans will receive items shipped by UPS,FedEx, DHL, or the US Postal Service, so criminals often send out emails impersonating correspondence from these services. Malware may be attached, or links in the email may direct a user to a rogue website that impersonates the shipping company’s real site. If you have questions about a delivery go to the carrier’s website, never click on links in an email.
3. Fake store emails
Criminals send out emails that appear to be from Amazon, eay, WalMart, and other major online retail outlets, but which spread malware or direct shoppers to phishing sites. If you receive notification of some “great deal” via email, or have questions about an order, go to the vendor’s website.
4. Deceptive Advertising
Dangerous links, phony contests and bogus gift cards designed to steal your personal info will again be rife this festive season. Anyone can advertise, even crooks. Just because a company is advertising on a legitimate website does not mean that it itself is legitimate. Think twice when clicking on ads for offerings from vendors about which you have never heard. If anyone emails/texts/calls you, claims to be a party with whom you have done business, and asks you for personal information, before providing the data initiate a different channel of communication that ensures the party is who he claims to be.
5. Credit card scams
Many Americans rely on credit cards to do shopping, so criminals routinely create fake credit card offers. Credit card applications should always be done by entering the URL of the issuing bank, not by clicking links that appear in blogs or other online forums discussing credit card offers or related deals. For example, if a credit card company calls to tell you about an issue with your card, don’t discuss the account on that call, instead call back using the number that is printed on the back of the relevant credit card.