Beware of Holiday Scams in 2022
With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner online shopping will most likely increase in most households over the next couple of months. E-commerce revenue in the U.S. alone reached $431.6 billion in 2020, this total is expected to increase past the $500 billion mark in 2022. This means that online shoppers are a prime target for bad actors looking to exploit individuals online. Know how to spot holiday scams this year as you shop online.
Common Holiday Scams
Cyber criminals will often craft their scams to match an upcoming holiday or event that may catch your eye and trick you into giving up personal information. Common holiday scams include social engineering campaigns revolving around Black Friday and Christmas. Criminals know you’re looking for deals and specials, so their phishing email may often offer some sort of wild discount that seems too generous to ignore.
When checking your emails and opening coupons or discount codes make sure you do the following:
- Pause: Take a second and thinking before you click. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. These holiday scams will often tout big savings on huge items.
- Hover: Use your cursor to hover over any links or buttons within the email to see what the source URL actually is. Sometimes amazon.com may not actually be Amazon.
- Inspect: Look for any weird or out of place grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
- Source: Similar to hover, make sure the email is coming from who it says it is.
- Help: If you’re not sure if an offer is real or not there is no shame in asking for a separate opinion. Ask someone you know who may be more knowledgeable about phishing scams to take a look at it.
Website spoofing may be another type of attack you encounter when shopping online. Cyber criminals may set up fake websites that look almost identical to the real one you’re searching for. Once someone enters their login credentials to this site the criminal now has access to the real version of the site. These websites will become more common as you shop online this season. Make sure that when navigating to a particular website that it is legitimate.
Ways to determine this include:
- Make sure to double check the URL before clicking. Oftentimes these fake sites will be one letter off and may go unnoticed by someone not looking. For instance, “Amazon.com” could become “Amazon2.com”.
- As a general rule, don’t visit websites that use the HTTP protocol. HTTPS is the secure and encrypted form of this website protocol. Make sure when you are sending data to this website it is secure.
- Look for the lock icon to the left of the URL. Many browsers like Google or Microsoft Edge include a lock symbol next to the URL to indicate this website is secure.
- If you do click onto the false website, pay attention to grammatical errors, outdated logos, or things that look out of place from what your usually experience when visiting the website. These errors are often dead giveaways.
As always, the easiest way to avoid these holiday scams is to use common sense when shopping online. As previously mentioned, if a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is.
Using all the practical steps above you should be able to spot a scam from a mile away. Be cyber secure this Black Friday!
Other online shopping scams and tips can be found on CorpInfoTech’s blog page:
- Five Security Tips for Black Friday 2021.
- How To Be Safe Online, Avoid Holiday Scams 2020
- Stay Safe Shopping Online – Amazon Prime Day 2022
CorpInfoTech (Corporate Information Technologies) provides small to mid-market organizations with expert I.T. services including compliance assessment, cybersecurity penetration tests, and comprehensive business continuity planning services. Corporate Information Technologies can help organizations, quantify, create, refine, and mitigate the risks presented by business threatening disasters in whatever form they may be disguised.