Stay safe from scammers this holiday season by using a few common-sense strategies
Scammers are like the Grinch of the holidays; they’re seemingly more active during this time and they might just ruin your holidays. They count on tired and harried shoppers letting down their guard as they scramble to finish checking off their Christmas list. Online shopping has made our lives easy and convenient however, this has come at a steep price for businesses if they get wrapped up in one of the latest online scams.
Here’s the top (3) worst scams during the holidays, and how you can avoid falling victim to these traps
Sellers of fake products peak people’s desire to keep their holiday gift giving costs low. They advertise prices that sound like they’re too good to be true, and target people seeking to buy brand name items and electronics, that are sold out from well-known stores. Predatory sellers are also active on common online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, so be sure to check each seller’s rating prior to buying from them. It’s a huge red flag if they have horrible ratings or low transaction rates, and you should pass them up no matter how great the deal might seem.
“Flipped” products are another thing to watch out for from online auction-style marketplaces. Scammers typically buy large amounts of the year’s hottest items, causing shortages among traditional retailers and put them up for sale on eBay or similar sites then sit back while frantic consumers compete in bidding wars. These same products are usually available again for significantly slashed prices once the holidays are over.
Phishing scams have been around for years, but they change in nature quite frequently enough to through even the most careful shoppers off their guard. An example of a phishing scam is gift card offers from well-known retailers. An example of this happened to Costco who recently announced that there had been a Facebook advertising scam for a free $75 coupon. Artistic scammers go as far as to create authentic-looking websites offering popular items for sale. This is particularly pernicious because you not only won’t receive the product, but your personal information may be sold off to identity thieves on the Dark Web. Bottomline here is to always protect yourself by shopping with established retailers only, and by using software designed to keep your financial information as safe as possible.
Hackers also focus on legitimate retailers this time of year to harvest the personal and financial information from their customers. Fortunately, major retailers have recently taken steps to provide enhanced data encryption of sensitive information provided by their customers, but caution is nonetheless advised. Enabling online access to bank accounts and credit cards allows consumers to closely monitor their financial transactions and take steps to minimize attacks from scammers if unauthorized charges or other signs of a data breach enter the picture. Nonetheless, identity theft is no picnic, so protect yourself by frequently checking your accounts daily, never use public or unsecured Wi-Fi connections to make online purchases, and use a protection package designed to identify online threats.
If you suspect that your business Wi-Fi might be exposed to hackers, then give us a call at 905-763-7896 or email [email protected] to get the best IT Security solution for you.