Shoppers Beware – It’s Scamming Season
As the holidays quickly approach, scammers are using holiday deals as a way to target customers. This approach is not new, but shoppers must be aware of the risk. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching, and the deals are already showing up in news feeds and emails. It is critical shoppers understand the risk of clicking on malicious links disguised as online ads or store sites. It may sound far-fetched, that hackers would create lookalike sites of popular shopping webpages, but it’s actually far too easy. Dodi Glenn, PC Matic’s vice president of cyber security states,
“Unfortunately, it is too easy to create lookalike sites. Anyone with the right software can download complete websites, and make a few changes, then upload the “site” to another domain.”
By doing so, hackers are able to obtain all of the information shoppers would use in a normal checkout process. This includes names, addresses, and credit card information. It also wouldn’t be too surprising to request users to “login” to shop. By doing so, hackers could obtain email addresses and passwords. This leads to additional risks. Think about how many times you use the same password for various sites. If hackers were to require a login, they would have your email address, password (likely one commonly used), address, and credit card data. Scary right?!
Beyond creating fake websites, hackers are also creating fake links to sales ads. These ads could include ransomware, worms, viruses, and even keyloggers.
So, what can shoppers do to protect themselves? Dodi suggests,
“Rather than clicking on the link in the email, simply visit the site directly in a browser. Also, be careful about deals that are too good to be true. Typically, they are.”