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Scamming home for the Holidays

new consumer warning: Fraud is becoming prevalent on BNPL platforms.

Pointing to a computer screen. Image by Tim Sandle.
Pointing to a computer screen. Image by Tim Sandle.

Hackers and scammers are sitting where the Holiday lights fail to shine, waiting to go Grinch-style in relation to information and money.

Jim Ducharme, COO of Outseer shares his thoughts will Digital Journal, detailing why hackers are working overtime during the holiday season and what consumers and businesses alike can do to protect themselves this year.

Focusing on Christmas, Ducharme explains why Yuletide is a vulnerable time for both business and home users, noting: “‘Tis the season for holiday fraud and cyberattacks. With bone-bare staffing all around and shopping surges putting extra strain on businesses, hackers are presented with the perfect opportunity to use any shortcomings and vulnerabilities to their benefit. Meaning both shoppers and retailers are at a heightened fraud and cyberattack risk this holiday season.”

However, there are measures that both corporations and consumers can undertake in order to protect against malicious actors. According to Ducharme: “To protect themselves, shoppers should be hyper-aware of the risks present with online payments, ‘buy now, pay later’ BNPL and other forms of transactions when shopping for this year’s gifts.”

With BNPL, this can be a cheap way to borrow. However, it is still a form of debt. All too often the lending is not regulated. Moreover, thorough checks of the customer’s personal financial circumstances do not always get carried out, resulting in people not being able to pay back the loan comfortably.

There is an additional risk as well, relating to cybersecurity. BNPL fraud can arise via a fraudster creating a profile using a synthetic identification method. When the fraudster enters stolen credit card details, the BNPL company will take the payment and then mail the goods to the fraudster’s selected address.

There are other risks to be aware of as well, notes Ducharme. “Shoppers also need to be weary of ‘scammy’ offerings and websites that pose as popular brands selling trendy items or offering steep discounts.”

Here Ducharme warns: “Remember, hackers can imitate any website and any item you may be interested in purchasing without much effort, allowing them to draw you in and then steal your money and information.”

It is not only consumers who need to be careful, Ducharme states. he advises the business world to be wary: “Companies also need to be aware of the precautions they can take to protect themselves and, in turn, their customers. Investing in fraud solutions that will provide a layer of protection, especially during short-staffed holiday season, will not only lessen employee stress but also keep your business and customer information safe.”

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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