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Article · Nov 27, 2019

Holiday shopping: How to navigate the minefield of online scams

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Retailers aren’t the only ones eyeing your wallet this holiday season. As more holiday shoppers go online – with 75% planning to do half of their shopping on the internet -- this is an opportune time for cybercriminals to scam consumers.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching, cybercriminals count on consumers to fall for spam emails promising big discounts. Such scams trick consumers into clicking bad links and inadvertently downloading malware that steals personal information like login credentials and credit card numbers.

The Department of Homeland Security also warned consumers to be cautious of malicious cyber campaigns and potential holiday scams where threat actors may send emails and ecards containing malicious links or attachments infected with malware.

Online shopping safety tips for the holiday season

Whatever it is that your shopping for, there are a myriad threats lurking in the online world.

To add to consumer woes, a recent report from Webroot found that home user PCs are twice as likely to be infected by malware compared to their business counterparts. As home users tend to be bit more lax when it comes to exercising caution when browsing the web, they should be extra careful this holiday season.

From sham order confirmations and shipping notices, to fake charities and shady email scams, threat actors are constantly looking at ways to crack into your wallet.

Here are some basic online shopping safety tips:

  • Beware of emails luring you with special discounts and offers. Cybercriminals leverage the holiday season to create a sense of urgency.
  • Be cautious of fake and malicious domains. Threat actors aim to trick more online shoppers and Amazon is one of the top impersonated brands. Signs of a fake site include inaccurate domain name and lack of information about customer services.
  • Refrain from clicking on links within emails or text messages from unknown senders. Go directly to the company’s website or contact customer care. Always hover over links to verify the URL.
  • Use caution when asked to enter any personal information online or via text. Use two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication for all sensitive accounts.
  • Always keep your browser updated, because updated browser has updated security features and can help protect against phishing sites and malware.
  • With identity theft reaching new heights during the holiday shopping season, closely monitor your financial accounts and set up notification alerts.
  • Invest in robust antivirus software to protect yourself online. Webroot’s Internet Security Plus offers identity and privacy shields to help safeguard important data.

Always remember to invest in an effective cloud backup solution to help minimize the damage in the event of data loss. Try Carbonite computer backup.


Mekhala Roy

Mekhala Roy is a writer on the Corporate Marketing team at Carbonite. A former journalist, she blogs about Carbonite happenings and cybersecurity.

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