From Now On Everyday is Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday

Come on it’s 2020,  so some of us have more time on our hands and we are stuck in front of our computers longer than normal.  The extra screen time combined with Cyber Monday is going to be like Christmas for cybercriminals and that means we have to be extra careful this holiday season. 

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year shoppers are expected to spend $189 Billion (according to Adobe Analytics).  Well, that’s a lot of money that cybercriminals are definitely going to try to cash in on this.  Some hackers, take a direct approach and hack into merchant’s websites to steal customer’s identities. I don’t know if you remember but Macy’s was hit hard last year and what we worry about is the scams. Even more common, however, are scams that try to lure you away from legit sellers onto malicious sites or apps that often spoof familiar retailers like AmazonBest Buy or Walmart.

Fake websites and apps can easily foul you

We have talked a lot about phishing schemes, however, since this holiday season it’s projected that more shopping will be conducted online we want to review some of the common schemes.

 Let’s start off with the old fashioned phishing scheme. You get an email or a text message requesting you to enter payment or other personal details on a fake website. The site usually looks so close to the legitimate company brand site that it’s hard to tell. 

Don’t do it! Most companies will not email you or text you to have you fill in your payment information.  If you think it’s real go to their website yourself.  We know you have heard this more than one time before.  However, according to cybersecurity company McAfee, over a third of all Americans fell victim to phishing schemes in 2019.

If you receive an email asking you to update your payment method or request other personal information, contact the company’s help desk to make sure the email is legit before you do anything else.

Other ways to identify a phishing email, according to the Federal Trade Commission and, include:

  • The sender’s email address looks almost right but contains extra characters or misspellings.
  • Misspellings and/or bad grammar either in the subject line or anywhere in the message.
  • Addresses you with generic terms (“Mr.” or “Ms.” or “Dear Customer”) instead of by name.
  • The message warns that you need to take immediate action and asks you to click a link and enter personal details, especially payment information.
  • The messages promise a refund, coupons or other freebies.

Not just retailers – Sisters can be scams too+51 More

What did we just say?  Sisters can be scammers?  Secret Sister Exchange started a few years ago on Facebook.  This gift exchange among internet strangers plays off the popular workplace practice of “Secret Santa,” a game where each person buys a present for one other, randomly selected person without anyone sharing their giftee. Instead, it’s a pyramid scheme dressed up in holiday clothes. “Secret Sister” exchange invitation promises you’ll receive about $360 worth of gifts after purchasing and mailing a $10 gift for someone else.

Unfortunately, such bad math hasn’t stopped this scam from resurfacing year after year. Not only will you probably be out 10 bucks when you don’t receive any gifts in return, but the scheme also involves you forwarding personal details — names, email addresses, phone numbers — to people you’ve never met in person.

The Better Business Bureau recommends you deal with any request to become a Secret Sister by ignoring it — do not give your personal details to online strangers. You can also report the invitation to Facebook or whichever social network you were approached on.

Cyber Monday used to be a one time a year online shopping spree.  We have a feeling that from now till we get COVID-19 under control, Cyber Monday is every day.  As long as you are shopping, scammers and cybercriminals are also shopping for your money.  Stay one step ahead and if you do find a fake site or scam let us know by reporting the site and we’ll start the process of taking down the bad guys.  

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From Now On Everyday is Cyber Monday

From Now On Everyday is Cyber Monday