Holiday Shopping Scams

The holiday season has officially started for most of us, and thus the shopping has also begun. In addition to our increased shopping habits, those looking to take advantage of you are also kicking their season into high gear with scams that target shoppers, travelers, and just about everyone else. With last year being a record $9 billion Black Friday, a lot of money moving is as tempting to hackers as is that extra piece of pumpkin pie.

In the Giving Spirit

Our guards go down, cybercrime goes up. Now more than ever, you need to be more cautious while being generous. What should you be looking out for this season? Here are a few easy grabs for cybercriminals that you need to watch out for.

Fake Websites

We click, click, click, but don't often look, look, look. Fraudulent websites can be nearly impossible to discern from the real thing, so avoid clicking through on emails to "get to the deal." If a big-box retailer is advertising a deal, go to their website directly and search for the "deal." In addition, don't call the phone number listed in an email to make a purchase. Fake phone numbers are as prevalent as fake websites.

Skimming Over the Details

Credit card skimming accounts for a portion of cybercrime revenue, and it is a tactic that is evolving. Hardware is placed over existing credit card readers and "skims" the card information, essentially stealing it from the retailer and the consumer. It stays there for a time and then is collected later by the criminal. But skimming isn't limited to hardware anymore. Malware can be deployed to e-skim on a site as it collects payment information. This tactic is sometimes called a Magecart attack. While this type of breach is harder to detect, you can work to avoid it by not storing your payment information on retail sites and using third-party payment methods like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, or PayPal. Check with your credit card about activating purchase alerts so that you can be aware of any suspicious activity immediately via text. If you aren't leaving home for the holidays, disable all international purchases on your credit cards as well. 

Be Social, But Safe

Have you come across those social media gift-giving groups of Secret Santa Sister or even Secret Santa Dog? An extensive gift exchange for spreading the holiday love among strangers, right? Wrong. Often these are merely ways of collecting your data and putting you at risk of losing out on money that you will put out and never see in return. If you want to give and feel good, do it with a reputable charity that aligns with your ethics, not one that might steal your identity. 

The giving season is one that you want to feel good about. Generosity is the gift that keeps on giving as long as you do it safely and securely. If there is any hesitation where something does not feeling quite right, trust your gut and double-check. As always, reach out to your Pendello Solutions Team with any questions about keeping your office safe. 

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