Don’t Fall Victim to these Cyber Monday Scams

Cyber Monday is right around the corner, and for many holiday shoppers that means bargains and deals galore without having to fight through the parking lots, lines and rude people that come with Black Friday shopping trips.

Many retailers claim that up to 80% of their online sales come from the time period between Cyber Monday and the weekend before Christmas.  But Cyber Monday isn’t only a day that store owners and holiday shoppers look forward to, online scam artists relish this day as well because they know that this is their busiest time of the year as well.

Some of the Scams

When it comes to online scams around the holiday season, spam plays an important role.

To get the attention of their victims, cyber criminals use spam. Whether they send spam messages through email, blog and forum comments, SMS text messages, micro blogging feeds or through social networks you can be assured that the amount of junk messages advertising holiday savings or a limited quantity of that hard to get toy is sure to increase.

But now that they have your attention, what will they try to get you to do? Let’s take a look at some of the scams that people run during the holiday season.

Affiliate Storefronts

Affiliate marketing is a great way for content publishers to make money from their blog or website. They advertise a company’s product or store, and then receive a small percentage of sales made from visitors they send to the e-commerce site.

Now some people set up complete storefronts that offer nothing more than affiliate links. They offer no products or customer service. All they do is forward a buyer on to the real storefront and collect a percentage.

These types of sites aren’t illegal, and are mostly harmless to the visitor, however they can be confusing to someone who thinks they are buying something from one of these sites. Especially when it comes to returns or customer service.

Phishing

What would any online scam be if phishing wasn’t involved? We all know how this works but let’s put a little holiday spin on it.

You receive an email, text message, wall post, etc. about super savings on the perfect gift for someone in your family and click on the link provided. You give your personal information and your financial information and you wait for the gift to arrive.

But it never does. Instead, your personal information and credit card information have been sold off and you spend your holidays cleaning up your credit score.

Malware Delivery

With all the packages being shipped over the holidays it is a wonder how FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service manage to keep delivery errors so low. But things do happen and ever so often an online shopper will receive an email telling them that their package was delayed and something needs to be done to fix the shipping mistake.

If it’s legitimate, that’s the end of it. But with tracking capabilities, a spammer can tell if someone clicks on a link they sent out. Now all they have to do is send those people a fake email from a shipping company telling them that they have download an attachment so they can clear up any shipping issues before it’s too late. The attachment contains malware that once installed, infects the victim’s computer.

Most of the time, we may be cognizant that this is a common scam. However add a bit of holiday stress and common sense can be hard to come by.

Don’t Fall Victim

Odds are you will be the recipient of spam this holiday season. The trick to not falling victim to the various scams is to be smart and remain vigilant. These tips can help keep you on your toes:

  • Avoid clicking links. If you see an online special copy the coupon code and type the site’s address directly into your address bar.
  • Check shipping problems at the source. If you receive an email regarding shipping issues, visit the shipper’s website or the store where you bought the item. Both should be able to inform you of your package’s status.
  • Shop at secure sites. Seeing a lock on the page doesn’t make it secure. Make sure that the page where you enter your credit card information is https.
  • Check your credit card statements regularly. Fighting fraudulent charges early will help you in the long run.
  • Make sure you understand the website’s privacy policy. Know what they intend to do with your personal information once you hand it over. If the site doesn’t have a privacy policy, don’t give up the goods.
  • Beware of something that is too good to be true. Remember, a deal that is too good can simply be bait to hook you
Written by Jeff

3 Comments

  1. Calvin North · November 22, 2011

    Especially when it comes to shopping for others (because remember, giving is the spirit of the season), make sure to only shop with trusted websites and shops. There are some suspect links on Google Shopping that offer incredible markdowns on highly-sought-after products, but it doesn’t take a genius to spot just how malicious looking these supposed storefronts are.

  2. V for Vendeta · November 22, 2011

    Why fall for Cyber Monday and even Black Friday? Even if you wait and camp-out outside a store, chances are you’ll buy the things you don’t need – which translates to more money out of your pocket.

    If you really want to save, wait until Christmas and New Year. The sales on these dates are so enormous that you can save up to 90% on your purchase. I just learned this from Bloomberg news a while ago. It’s a great and practical tip – you’ll just have to be patient enough.

  3. Jessica R. · November 28, 2011

    Affiliate storefronts aren’t necessarily bad. Many of them are legit and you could buy from them cheaper than if you go directly to the site they are an affiliate to. I agree you need to watch where you are buying at but the fact it is an affiliate site isn’t a problem per se.

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