As the holiday shopping season kicks into gear, cybercriminals are also gearing up to exploit the surge in online purchases. Online shopping’s ease and convenience demand vigilance against scams that target sensitive information, especially credit card details. With our tips, you can be proactive and ensure secure holiday shopping.
The Threat of Typosquatting and Skimming
In the coming weeks, millions of people will be making online purchases from both reputable and lesser-known retailers. Scammers cleverly disguise their websites to mimic secure retailers, often using a common tactic called “typosquatting,” where they subtly alter a website’s link with a similar-looking character. For instance, a fake Amazon link might look like https://www.amaz0n.com instead of the legitimate https://www.amazon.com. These subtle changes can easily go unnoticed, tricking unsuspecting shoppers into entering their credit card information on a fraudulent website.
Skimming, a type of cyberattack aimed at stealing personal information, often utilizes typosquatting techniques. In March 2023, a particularly devious skimming campaign resurfaced, targeting unsuspecting shoppers with a cleverly designed website that mimicked a well-known brand. Scammers pilfered credit card information from unsuspecting customers who made purchases on this fake site, using it for unauthorized transactions.
Protect Your Information with These Essential Tips
To ensure a secure holiday shopping experience and safeguard your personal information, follow these essential tips:
- Pay close attention to website links: Verify the authenticity of website links before entering your credit card information. Look for misspellings or subtle character changes, such as using a zero “0” instead of the letter “o.”
- Beware of typosquatting: When entering a website address, be extra cautious of typosquatting attempts. Check for subtle variations in the domain name, such as “amazon.net” instead of “amazon.com.”
- Scrutinize website details: Examine the website for inconsistencies, such as outdated copyright dates or poorly formatted content. These red flags may indicate a fraudulent site.
- Prioritize trusted retailers: Whenever possible, prioritize shopping on websites with established reputations and strong security measures.
- Utilize secure payment methods: Opt for secure payment methods like PayPal or credit card processing gateways that offer buyer protection.
- Monitor credit card statements: Regularly review your credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity.
- Report suspicious activity immediately: If you notice any unauthorized transactions or suspect you’ve been a victim of skimming, promptly report it to your bank or credit card company.
- Sellers who demand payment by wire transfer, money order or gift card. They are scammers.
Vigilance and Link Hovering
Vigilance is key to protecting your sensitive information during the holiday shopping season. By following these tips, you can enjoy the convenience of online shopping without compromising your financial security.
Always hover over the link to make sure that it is the actual link that you are expecting. For example, hover over this link: www.google.com. This link looked like it would be for Google, but in fact it was for DuckDuckGo.
By hovering over links, you can help to protect yourself from phishing scams and other online threats.
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