During Thanksgiving till the New Year, lots of money will be spent and all this cash exchanging hands means cybercriminals will be sniffing around to get a piece of the cake. In order to prevent yourself from falling victim, you need to be aware of the likely scams scammers may pull off this season. In this article, we explore a list of scams to avoid this holiday shopping season.

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1. Fake sites and fraudulent apps

Phishing is at its peak during this period. The target gets an email or SMS prompting them to type in payment information or other personal details on a fraudulent site, which is mostly designed to resemble a legitimate website.

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Therefore, you should expect lots of messages from people who claim to be from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and other major retailers. If you get an email telling you to update your payment method or one that asks for your personal info, reach out to the company’s customer care to ensure the email is not a scam before you take any step.

2. Credit card skimming

Credit card skimmers that steal your personal info as soon as you swipe a credit or debit card at the ATM gas pump, payment kiosks e.t.c, will be all over the place. Principal security strategist for Synopsis, Tim Mackey had this to say, “There isn’t an obvious way for the average person will be able to identify if or when a website has been compromised. The only potential tell-tale sign might be that the website itself doesn’t quite look right.”

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To make sure you do not fall prey, ensure you do not save your credit card information on retail websites. If you can, use 3rd-party payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet or PayPal. You can also activate purchase alerts on all your credit cards.

3. Avoid the “Secret Sister” gift exchange

Facebook was the platform that brought this scheme to life 4 years ago. The “Secret Sister” exchange invitation vows that you will get close to $360 worth of gifts after buying and mailing a $10 gift for somebody else.

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Sadly, such terrible mathematics has never prevented this scam for reoccurring annually. You will not just lose your 10 bucks because there is no food, you will also need to forward personal info like names, email addresses, phone numbers to strangers. The best way to avoid it is to ignore it.

4. “Juice-jacking” fears might be overblown

Avoid using USB charging ports in public places such as airports and shopping malls because hackers can install “juice-jacking” software that will download malicious code on connected devices and tabs. You will be granting thief access to your personal info.

More Information About Scam

Internet fraud is a type of fraud or deception which makes use of the Internet and could involve hiding of information or providing incorrect information for the purpose of tricking victims out of money, property, and inheritance. Internet fraud is not considered a single, distinctive crime but covers a range of illegal and illicit actions that are committed in cyberspace.

It is, however, differentiated from theft since, in this case, the victim voluntarily and knowingly provides the information, money or property to the perpetrator. It is also distinguished by the way it involves temporally and spatially separated offenders.

According to the FBI’s 2017 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received about 300,000 complaints. Victims lost over $1.4 billion in online fraud in 2017.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and McAfee, cybercrime costs the global economy as much as $600 billion, which translates into 0.8% of total global GDP. Online fraud appears in many forms. It ranges from email spam to online scams. Internet fraud can occur even if partly based on the use of Internet services and is mostly or completely based on the use of the Internet.

As retailers and other businesses have growing concerns about what they can do about preventing the use of gift cards purchased with stolen credit card numbers, cybercriminals have more recently been focusing on taking advantage of fraudulent gift cards. More specifically, malicious hackers have been trying to get their hands on gift card information that has been issued but has not been spent.

Some of the methods for stealing gift card data include automated bots that launch brute force attacks on retailer systems that store them. First, hackers will steal gift card data, check the existing balance through a retailer’s online service, and then attempt to use those funds to purchase goods or to resell on a third party website.

In cases where gift cards are resold, the attackers will take the remaining balance in cash, which can also be used as a method of money laundering. This harms the customer gift card experience, the retailer’s brand perception, and can cost the retailer thousands in revenue. Another way gift card fraud is committed is by stealing a person’s credit card information to purchase brand new gift cards.

There you have it – a comprehensive list of scams to avoid this holiday season. You are admonished to take this information seriously, so as not to fall victim to scammers this holiday season.


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