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Beware of these Internet scams across the Holiday shopping period

Hackers will often rush people into making a donation at year end, or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never paid for and then asking for payment.

Anything connected to the internet — from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: © Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
Anything connected to the internet — from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: © Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Every year thousands of people become victims of holiday scams, according to Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout. He notes that the Better Business Bureau recently released the top scams to be on guard against in the 2021 holiday season.

The main issues of concern, Schless explains, are:

Illegitimate Websites

Cyber criminals set up fraudulent websites designed to collect personal information and direct payments.

Package Delivery Scams

Scammers will often send text messages that look like they’re from a legitimate mail or package courier, like Fedex, and include a fake tracking link.

Fake Charities

Hackers will often rush people into making a donation at year end, or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never paid for and then asking for payment.

In addition, Schless provides the following advice to Digital Journal readers to be cognizant of while shopping online ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These thoughts are:

  • Exercise caution when sharing personal information: Be especially wary of communication (emails, texts, and phone calls) asking you to update your password or account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own and call the company directly.
  • Avoid paying for items with prepaid gift cards. In these scams, a merchant may ask you to send them a gift card number and PIN. Instead of using that gift card for your payment, the scammer will steal the funds, and you’ll never receive your item. Instead, use a credit card when shopping online and check your statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.
  • Stop before you click: if you are not certain that a message is from a legitimate source, avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media.
  • Run advanced security protection on your mobile devices – like Lookout’s security, privacy & identity application – that automatically monitors and identifies scam URLs in email, text messages, and on the web and blocks you from threats that can do harm.

Schless concludes by pointing out that it is important to protect digital information at every level.

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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