Scammers can be online all the time, but with the holiday season approaching, they’re in full force.
That’s because “all the stars match” against villains, check point software, an online security company. Shopping rushes, big sales, and charity appeals are often used by scammers to lure people into clicking on malware boobytraps, reveal sensitive personal information, or respond to deceptive emails or texts. It creates a lot of opportunities to rake in cash.
you don’t have to grinch To protect yourself from these scammers, you should be skeptical of any unsolicited emails or texts you receive. In the meantime, keep in mind what scammers want to do while on vacation and that your online behavior will inevitably put you at more risk.
Here are some tips from Ostrowski. Norton Researcher Kevin Roundy and other experts explain holiday scams to watch out for and practices to keep you safe.
In the pre-Amazon era, holiday shopping meant shrugging your shoulders through the crowds at the mall or local shopping district. And for the hardcore bargain-seekers among us, that meant spending hours in line before dawn, hoping for a chance to snag a very low-priced TV or game console. .
Some of It’s Still Happening—Witness It two years ago frenzy A good chunk of in-person shopping for the holiday season is due to people looking to get their hands on a Sony PlayStation 5. gave way to online salesThat means more and more people are looking for deals online and having their packages delivered to their homes. This means that scammers are more likely to impersonate new online retailers or impersonate well-known delivery services.
Check Point Research estimates that: 1 in 6 malicious emails A shipping scam was sent in the first 10 days of this month. These often indicate urgency and encourage you to click on the link. Clicking on that link either downloads malware to your device or takes you to a site that attempts to steal your sensitive personal information.
These scams are common because they are effective. Is there anything harder to resist than a text from UPS providing a link to a tracking number? But you have to resist.
You can identify fraudulent emails by carefully checking if the sender’s address does not match the carrier’s domain, or checking the email for spelling and grammatical errors. Better yet, ignore the email and visit the shipping company’s website instead. There you can enter the tracking number provided by the retailer at the time of purchase. Finding the information you need about your package is safe and easy.
You’re probably sick of the phrase, “If a deal seems too good to be true, it’s probably true.” But just because it’s banal doesn’t mean it’s less authentic. And it’s especially important this time of year, when scammers bargain his hunter-only traps.
The problem, says Roundy, is that we tend to let our guard down when we’re on vacation. “Just over one in three of his American adults admits to taking more risks during the holiday season,” he said. Not surprisingly, more than a third of them have fallen victim to shopping fraud, with an average loss of $387.
Here are some examples of scams that may occur this year. In the second week of November alone, nearly 15,000 fake websites of him were created offering discounts on designer handbags, according to a Check Point Research study. In addition to stealing sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, such sites may also be trying to sell you counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Dior, or Balenciaga products at high prices.
Black Friday “doorbuster” sales by retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart have prompted people to distrust prices that are perceived as unbelievably cheap. Nonetheless, Roundy has to ask himself if it makes sense for legitimate retailers to do so when he sees popular products offered at deep discounts. said.
And just because you have an elaborate website with thousands of products doesn’t mean your unfamiliar retailer is fine. “Scammers put a lot of effort into their sites,” he says Roundy. “Many of our intuitions fail, so we have to be very careful this time of year.”
Wisdom of the crowds can help protect you from fake online retailers. suggested to search for
Users are quick to share their suspicions on sites like: reddit When con manAnd established sites are likely to have lots of customer reviews, says Roundy, which can also be abused. Scam sites usually have many bad reviews, or chunks of bad reviews mixed with a series of short, very positive reviews, probably posted by scammers.
He also said that checking the ratings of individual sellers on platforms like EBay and Amazon Marketplace is also important and helps distinguish between those that are trustworthy and those that aren’t.
social catfishOffer fraud detection services for a fee. Check URLs to make sure you’re buying electronics from a retailer’s site, make sure they’re not similarly spelled knockoffs, and gift cards directly from the source Please obtain the
(Even if the discount gift card you buy is a genuine card, the seller could be laundering money for an illegal company, Roundy said.)
Reverse image search like Social Catfish or Google free image search Google Lens It also helps protect against fraud on specialized websites and sales platforms such as eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. If the seller posts a photo of what they believe is the actual product (puppy, designer dress, etc.), save a copy of that image to your computer or smartphone before uploading it to a reverse image search site. A search will tell you if the seller copied the photo from another site.
Another problem for bargain hunters is counterfeit and “gray market” products. These products are the lower-priced versions that the company sells outside the United States, but the warranty may not be valid in the United States.Amazon has well documented history The number of counterfeit goods sold on the site. see better results.
Released in 2012, give tuesday A global effort by a network of non-profit organizations to facilitate charitable giving. Countless organizations are soliciting donations at his Giving Tuesday organization’s annual celebration on November 29th this year.
Many of these appeals arrive in your email inbox. Unfortunately, your inbox may also collect messages from scammers.
According to AARP, you’re likely to encounter charity-related scams more than any other type of scam this holiday season. almost 40% 80% of those surveyed said they have been pitched by a bogus charity.
According to Roundy, one of the tricks of the scam is to send an email in the name of a popular charity, thanking people for past donations and asking for help again. Links in emails can take you to fake sites of scammers rather than charities, trying to steal your sensitive personal information or money.
Scammers may also tie their complaints to recent headline tragedies and emergencies and set up fraudulent GoFundMe sites to siphon money from real victims, Roundy said. I’m here. Alternatively, fraudulent social media may use her account to make false pitches based on the celebrity’s real-life philanthropic endeavors.
According to Roundy, the best defense against this type of scam is not trying to donate via email, text, or links in social media posts. Instead, visit the charity’s website and donate directly.
You can also look for the same kinds of clues in charity-related emails as in unsolicited messages, he said. Fake charities often try to trick users by using names similar to those of legitimate organizations. Mr Roundy said:
To encourage safe giving, some employers have created Giving Tuesday portals on their websites to make direct donations (and sometimes matching donations) to verified charities.
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Or you can do your own research on unfamiliar charities.of the Internal Revenue Service Tax exempt organization database is one of the data rich resources.A more user-friendly search tool provided by charity navigator, charity watch and the Better Business BureauHowever, in addition to verifying that the charity is genuine, it can also give you an idea of how well the charity is managed.
One thing that online scammers of all kinds have in common is that they prefer to be paid in an irrevocable way. So if someone doesn’t allow credit card payments, that’s a cause for concern.
Rule #1 is to never do business with anyone who asks you to pay with a gift card. This is a favorite of scammers around the world because the money cannot be recovered or traced.
By the way, paying through Zelle is not so good considering the system doesn’t offer any help in recovering money from scammers.If you pay someone through Zelle, it’s the same as handing cash.
Rule 2 is to never do business with anyone who asks for payment outside of the platform you use to sell your products. Selling platforms such as EBay, Etsy, and StockX offer ways to get your money back if you get scammed, but only if you use their payment service. If a seller tries to convince you to send money directly, that’s a red flag.
PayPal and Venmo can be on your side here as long as the purchase is covered by the Buyer Protection Program. Available by default with PayPal; Venmo needs to ensure that purchases are made. subject For your protection, select that option when paying.