This story is part of with tips on the best ways to manage the holiday season.
This year's Black Friday is expected to break all previous records, with consumers spending an estimated $ 29 billion online during the Thanksgiving weekend. All that money means that cyber criminals will be busier than ever to use malware to target both you and the online retailers that you trust. Some hackers, such as those who hit Macy last month, directly attack vendors' websites. Much more scams, however, are designed to lure you away from legitimate sellers and lead you to malicious sites or apps that often cheat on well-known retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy or Walmart.
For example, research from RiskIQ, a security company, said it identified nearly 1,000 malicious apps with vacation-related terms, and more than 6,000 apps with names and slogans from popular retailers to bring in unsuspecting victims. RiskIQ also said it has found 65 malicious websites that act as popular retailers in an effort to fool you into providing your personal information.
As always, your best armor against these schemes, scams, frauds and disadvantages is the knowledge you need to sniff them out. Here is everything you need to know about (not being) duped during these holidays.
The Better Business Bureau recommends handling any request to become a secret sister by ignoring it – do not give your personal information to strangers online. You can also report the invitation on Facebook or on whatever social network you have been approached.
False websites and fraudulent apps are going & # 39; phishing & # 39;
In a phishing scheme, the victim receives an email or text message asking him to enter the payment information or other personal data on a fraudulent website, which is often designed to look like a legitimate site.
A recent survey by cyber security company McAfee reports that 41% of Americans fell victim to e-mail phishing schemes in 2019. It is not surprising that a similar number – 39% – reported e-mail do not check mail senders or merchant websites for authenticity.
To top it off, 30% of respondents in the past year alone report losses of $ 500 or higher.
If the data from RiskIQ is any indication, expect an increase in messages that claim to be from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target or other major retailers in the coming months. If you receive an email asking you to update your payment method or request other personal information, contact the company's help desk to verify that the email is legitimate before doing anything else.
Other ways to identify a phishing email, according to the Federal Trade Commission and StaySafeOnline.org, include:
- The sender's email address looks good almost but contains extra characters or spelling errors.
- Spelling errors and / or bad grammar in the subject line or elsewhere in the message.
- Address with generic terms ("Mr." or "Madam" or "Dear Customer") instead of by name.
- The message warns you to take immediate action and asks you to click a link and enter personal information, in particular payment information.
- The messages promise a refund, discount coupons or other freebies.
Credit card skimming goes completely digital
Credit card skimmers who steal your personal data when you have a credit or debit card at the ATM gas pump or other payment kiosk has existed for more than ten years, but the October attack on Macy & # 39; s is an example of the same technology that is applied digitally.