Hackers Prey on Holiday Shoppers

Tis’ the Season to be Jolly Scammed…

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.  With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal bombarding our news feeds, inboxes, and web pages, 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 web pages, but it’s actually far too easy.  By generating a lookalike site, 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 surprising scammers request users to “log in” 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?  Rather than clicking on the link in the email, simply visit the site directly in a browser.  If they’ve sent a promotional email for 40% off, the website will have the same deal — or use the coupon code listed in the email.  Also, be careful about deals that appear to be too good to be true — they typically are.

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