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Consumer be warned: Holiday shopping scams are on the rise

For consumers, it is more important now than ever to be vigilant about online security.

The '4-star' store is Amazon's first physical shop selling non-food products in Britain. — © AFP
The '4-star' store is Amazon's first physical shop selling non-food products in Britain. — © AFP

Amazon announced it will be launching Black Friday deals during October 2021.  As the U.S. holiday shopping promotions start rolling out, online scams will also be in abundance. There are many email scams themed around Amazon and Amazon Prime.

This means, for many consumers, it is more important now than ever to be vigilant about online security.

To help to avoid scams, Mathew Newfield, CISO at Unisys, provides Digital Journal readers with some best practices for keeping your data safe while shopping online. Some recommendations to be wary of include:

Fake deals: Here it is important to be wary of especially large discounts. The old adage applies: ‘If a deal looks too good to be true, it usually is’. A useful trick is to look up product reviews and information on the seller to see if it is legitimate.

Phishing attacks by hackers posing as sellers offering shipping status updates: To guard against these, make sure to look at the email address of the sender to see if it looks legitimate, and hover over any links before clicking on them to make sure they direct you to the intended website.

Solicitations through social media: With this, make sure the charity you’re donating to is a trusted source.

To further help to avoid scams, Newfield advises:

Patch your home IoT devices: Be sure to protect your Wi-Fi network and any device around the house connected to it by patching and updating to the latest firmware and checking the brand and model for security risks. It is also important to change default passwords and use passwords of significant strength. Do not use words or deviations of words as passwords.

Multi-factor authentication is not just for businesses: Consumers have the option of setting up voice or facial recognition-based access, or to receive push notifications if a new or unauthorized login is detected.

Make sure you’re using secure sites: It’s important to use secure resources when shopping, especially for any site that asks you to input credit card or bank account data to complete a purchase. Make sure you only use trusted, verified sites that you are familiar with, and be sure to type the URL into your browser rather than risk inadvertently clicking a malicious link.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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