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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that internet buyers might lose more than $53 million during the holiday season this year.

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 17,000 complaints about the non-delivery of goods during the 2020 holiday shopping season, resulting in losses of more than $53 million. Due to speculations of item shortages and the continuing epidemic, this figure is expected to rise during the 2021 Christmas season.

Criminals entice their victims in multiple ways.

  • E-mails advertising hot-ticket or hard to find items, such as event tickets or gaming systems.
  • Untrusted websites and ads promoting unrealistic discounts and bargains.
  • Social media posts, often appearing to have been shared by a known friend, offering vouchers, gift cards, freebies, and contests.
  • Social media hosted advertisements for non-existent or counterfeit items.
  • Online surveys designed to steal personal information.

In addition to losing money on a bogus purchase, unsuspecting consumers may be giving away personal information and debit or credit card details. Victims may receive nothing except a compromised identity or fraudulent card charges.

The holidays are also a popular time for pet purchases. Criminals will use legitimate website photos to promise the non-existent pet to multiple buyers. Red flags include added shipping/carrier fees, taxes, and or vaccination costs. If purchasing a pet online, consider meeting the animal and owner via video chat before buying to reduce the chances of being scammed.

Source

As reported by BleepingComputer, aside from financial losses, fraudsters’ victims face identity theft and fraudulent card charges if their personal or financial information is obtained via online skimmers or phishing attempts.

Scammers utilize a variety of strategies to lure internet buyers over the holidays, including bargains that appear too good to be true:

  • E-mails advertising hot-ticket or hard-to-find items, such as event tickets or gaming systems.
  • Untrusted websites and ads promoting unrealistic discounts and bargains.
  • Social media posts, often appearing to have been shared by a known friend, offer vouchers, gift cards, freebies, and contests.
  • Social media hosted advertisements for non-existent or counterfeit items.

How To Stay Safe?

As Vladimir explained in his article, the best way to stay safe is to be one step ahead of the scammers, by following some simple rules:

1. Before making a purchase, check the website’s credentials.

If you intend to do your Black Friday shopping online, investigate the store thoroughly before entrusting it with your personal information.

2. Check the pricing twice.

Checking to price with big stores is the easiest way to prevent getting duped by a fraudulent website boasting extraordinary savings.

3. Avoid clicking on every link you come across online.

If you come across a link, whether in an email, phone call, or instant messaging, the best thing to do is exit the chat window, forward the message to a rubbish folder, or simply ignore it.

4. Maintain a record of your orders.

If you receive an email or SMS concerning a failed delivery or re-confirmation, check your account first and then contact the delivery business.

5. Shop online using a credit card.

When making online purchases, it is strongly advised to use a credit card since it provides greater security than other ways of payment.

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Author Profile

Dora Tudor

Cyber Security Enthusiast

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Dora is a digital marketing specialist within Heimdal™ Security. She is a content creator at heart - always curious about technology and passionate about finding out everything there is to know about cybersecurity.

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