With Trend Micro threat analysts predicting that online shopping risks this year may be even greater due to the popular boom in mobile shopping, Canadians continue to embrace on line shopping in record numbers.
“Online shopping need not come at the added cost of unwillingly buying into cyber scams. Much like the real world, if an online deal looks too good to be true, it probably is,” says Trend Micro Canada’s Ian Gordon, Director of Marketing.
Here are a five common online holiday shopping scams, and how to avoid them—good advice considering we bought more then $15.3 billion dollars worth of goods though nearly 114 million on line orders in 2010.
Lookalike sites. Some enterprising Internet “entrepreneurs” have already figured out the most common misspellings of popular destination sites. So if the e-commerce site you go to looks just a teeny bit odd, double-check the URL and make sure you are where you intended to go.
Scam links on social media. Links to malware and scam sites offering special holiday offers and magical mistletoe can spread as quickly on Facebook and Twitter as a cold can spread through a kindergarten class. Best to avoid all holiday-related links on Facebook and potentially miss out on that thrilling video of the dog barking “Jingle Bells” than to click on a link that wipes out your computer.
Fake holiday gifts. Emails offering gift items at prices that are too good to be true—you should be very wary. Unscrupulous con artists can even set up web pages using a fake company name selling fake holiday gifts. Do your research—if you don’t recognize the name of the company, don’t order anything!
Fraudulent sellers on auction sites. When you can’t find the season’s most popular new toy in an actual store, you might decide to see if anybody’s reselling the toy online. If you do, avoid sellers with very few ratings or ones without established histories on the site. Don’t take a chance on an unproven merchant.
Emails from “retailers” about your credit card information. If you get an email asking you to confirm or re-enter a credit card number that the retailer already has, chances are it’s phony. If you’re worried that a retailer really has failed to process your order, go to the site and look up your account or contact their customer service center—don’t click on a link in email that could redirect to a dummy site.
- The free, 12-page eBook guide, “Online Shopping Safety Made Easy,” can be downloaded here.
- The “Online Safety Tips” infographic can be downloaded here.
- For more information on the types of attacks cybercriminals are implementing, please visit the Trend Micro Malware Blog here.