‘Tis the time of year for holiday shopping, and for most of us, that means online shopping.  According to DomainTools, 92 percent of Americans shop online – and nearly 50 percent shop for Cyber Monday deals.  Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when there is a spike in cybercrime.  Most of the criminals are trying to gain access to personal and financial information.  Here are some scams to look out for and a few tips when cyber shopping this year:

Fake Websites:  Criminals will set up fake websites aimed to look like well-known retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Target.  They often lure you to the site with some “too-good-to-pass-up” deal, hoping that once you are on the site, you will divulge sensitive information.

What to look for?

*Check the URL of the site you are on to make sure it is the real store and the discount offers match up.
*Always shop on a secure network – do not use Wi-Fi.
*Do not save credit card information online.
*Make sure the websites you use for shopping begin with https:// and have a green lock icon in the corner. This ensures you are visiting a secure site.
*Check your bank statements to ensure they match with online purchases.

Phishing Emails/Ads: These emails and promotional ads impersonate real websites and often go together with the spoofed websites – the goal is to get you to click through to the fake site.  Different phishing scams can have different purposes.  Often it is the criminal’s intent to get your Social Security number, bank account information or other nonpublic data.  Some may have malware embedded into a legitimate email in the hopes of gaining access to your device for future cyberattacks and/or remote login.

What to look for?  Think before you click!

*Avoid downloading any coupons or discount codes from pop-up ads on email.
*Be extra cautious with any ads on social media – these sites are easier to hack than other.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss these topics further, please call us (913) 345-1881.