As if the internet weren’t already a scary enough place, with cybercriminals lurking everywhere and unleashing malware at the rate of hundreds of thousands a day, the holiday season can be the stuff of nightmares. Cybercriminals really ramp up their wicked game on CyberMonday and during the holiday season – knowing full well more people are shopping online.
Their goal – the dupe you into giving them what they love most – your personal information. With it, they can scam you a thousand ways to Tuesday. But there are ways to protect yourself – and most involve simply being aware of their schemes and tactics.
Watch for emailed coupons that claim to come from a legitimate retailer. You’ll most likely see it in your email as a notification from someone you’ve done business with before, but in this case, the sender might be waving a $100 coupon in front of you. When you click to redeem it, you’ve just opened yourself up to malware that can give cybercrimnals access to your private information.
Keep your eyes open for fakers. Many fraudsters will play with the spelling of popular sites, such as Amazon or Walmart by adding a letter, word or phrase, such as Amaazon.com or Walmart-outlet.ct. And, with URL shorteners being so prevalent, it’s easy to fall prey to a fake site that doesn’t have the typical “.com” extension. Again, visiting such a site can be dangerous.
Be Reasonable. Be Wise. Would Target reeeeally be sending you a $100 gift card for no reason? Redeeming such offers will require you to go to a site where you’ll be asked to enter your email address and password. Legitimate sites will never ask you for that info, or your SS #, bank account info, etc.