Don’t Let These 3 Online Shopping Scams Turn You Into the Grinch This Christmas

Don’t Let These 3 Online Shopping Scams Turn You Into the Grinch This Christmas

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Economic experts predict that online shopping between November 2019 and January 2020 will increase by 14-18%. Compare this to the estimated 5% increase in retail shopping during the same period and you can see why cyber hackers and online scammers are foaming at the mouth this Christmas season.

Although popular online retailers such as Amazon are doing everything in their power to keep shopper’s information safe this holiday season, there are ways you can ensure you don’t get scammed by cyber-Scrooge and his associates.

Black Friday has come and gone, but online hackers are just starting to heat up. Be on the lookout for the following 3 online shopping scams to keep you from turning into the Grinch this Christmas.

Charity webpage with two open hands and a heart
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Scam #1: Online Charity Scams

Throughout the year, it’s not uncommon for retail or grocery stores to ask if you want to “round up your total” upon checkout in order to contribute to a particular charity. During Christmas, you’ll see this tactic in full force as organizations look to take advantage of “cheerful givers.”

If you come across a charity link online, whether it’s an affiliate link on a legitimate online retailer’s page or a paid advertisement on Google, do not consider clicking until you’ve done your research. The CISA just recently posted a warning concerning best practices for charitable giving during the holidays.

Username and password page displayed on smart phone
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Scam #2: Credential-Stealing Bots

Although it’s an obnoxious inconvenience, try using different log-in credentials (username and password) for each online retailer you visit. At the beginning of the holiday shopping season, cyber hackers and scam artists use automatic bots to steal your online credentials.

They will then use these same credentials on other sites you’ve visited in hopes that the information is identical. Having access to numerous accounts can be detrimental to your identity and private information. It’s also best not to stay signed in or have your username and password saved on your computer or other devices.

Webpage filled with advertisements
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Scam #3: Hijacking Clicks With Ad Fraud

There are several ways scammers can commit ad fraud and steal potential revenue dollars from other websites. Although ad fraud hackers usually target advertising agencies, online shoppers can be duped as well.

One tactic that scammers implement in their ad fraud campaign is through the use of hijacking clicks. Rather than sending the user to the appropriate site after an ad has been clicked, the scammer will redirect traffic to their own website instead.

Victims will continue browsing and shopping while malware is being installed on their device to steal information or until they purchase a fake product with real money. Sometimes, hidden ads can be placed on random areas of a site to take advantage of accidental clicks.

*Always make sure you are shopping on verified websites that are using secured checkout technology and refrain from using the same log-in credentials for different sites. When it doubt, don’t click it!