Written by idwatchdog.com
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns shoppers to be alert to holiday scams and malicious cyberattacks this holiday season. According to the agency, criminals may send fraudulent emails or e-cards with malicious links or attachments. Learn 12 tips to better detect and avoid holiday shopping scams, and better protect your identity and finances while searching for the perfect gifts online.
Holiday Scams Come in Many Forms—Fraudulent Ads, Emails, Calls, and Texts
Fraudsters frequently take advantage of the holidays to push themed scams through online ads, misleading calls, phishing emails, and text messages. The worst part? These scams are often carefully crafted and branded to look like they came from a legitimate retailer or other organization and for a legitimate purpose.
For example, in 2018, attackers reportedly sent holiday-themed phishing emails designed to look like Amazon order confirmations. If the victim took the bait and opened the link or attachment, the emails infected the victim’s computer with malware that logged keystrokes and attempted to steal account credentials.
In other instances, cybercriminals may tout fraudulent mobile apps or web pages related to holidays or current events, such as Black Friday, with the goal of convincing to enter personal or financial data.
Yet another holiday scam used the messaging platform WhatsApp to try to lure victims by promoting popular products at deep discounts, sometimes from seemingly authentic retailers like Amazon.com.
Even Gift Cards Can Be Targeted for Cyber Scams
Gift card fraud is becoming more common among financial scammers, according to reports.
Scammers can use bots to test millions of combinations of gift card numbers and PINs on retailer websites. Once they find an active card, they drain the money—either by purchasing items for themselves or selling the card’s credentials on the dark web. When the recipient attempts to use the card, they discover that it has little to no funds available.
Other scammers target legitimate sites that people use to resell gift cards or purchase cards at a discount, where it can be difficult for buyers to discern if the cards are being sold legitimately or belong to a scammer.
12 Tips to Better Protect Your Identity and Finances This Holiday Season
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to better protect your identity and your finances while filling your holiday gift lists.
What to Do in Case of Suspected Fraud
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud or theft, report it immediately to your bank or credit institution as well as to the proper authorities in order to minimize your losses and begin working toward resolution.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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