This story is part of and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.
This year's Black Friday is expected to break all previous records. Consumers will spend an estimated $ 29 billion online on Thanksgiving weekend. All that money means that more than ever, cybercriminals use malware to target both you and the online retailers you trust. Some hackers, like those who hit Macy's last month, are directly attacking merchants' websites. However, many more scams seek to distract you from legitimate sellers and lead you to malicious websites or apps that often mislead well-known retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart.
For example, a survey by security company RiskIQ revealed that it identified nearly 1,000 malicious apps with holiday terms and more than 6,000 apps with names and slogans from well-known retailers to track down unsuspecting victims. RiskIQ also claimed to have identified 65 malicious websites as popular retailers to trick you into disclosing your personal information.
As always, your best armor against these plans, scams, scams and disadvantages is the knowledge you need to find them out. Here's everything you need to know to (not) be cheated on this holiday season. Here areand even more .
Avoid the "Secret Sister" gift exchange – it's a pyramid scheme.
This Facebook-generated gift exchange among Internet strangers depicts the popular workplace practice of "Secret Santa," a game in which each man buys a gift for a randomly chosen person without anyone sharing his five. Instead, the Better Business Bureau is a pyramid scheme in holiday clothes. The "Secret Sister" swap promises that you will receive approximately $ 360 in gifts after you have bought and sent a $ 10 gift to someone else.
Unfortunately, such bad math has not prevented this fraud from appearing year after year. Not only do you lose ten dollars if you do not get any gifts back, you also need to pass personal information – names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers – to people you've never met in person.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that you ignore any request to become a secret sister. Do not share your personal information with online strangers. You can also report the invitation to Facebook or to the social network where you were approached.
Fake websites and fraudulent apps become "phishing".
In a phishing scheme, the victim receives an e-mail or text message that asks them to enter payment information or other personal information on a fraudulent website, which is often designed to look just like a legitimate one website.
A recent survey by cybersecurity firm McAfee revealed that 41% of Americans were victims of e-mail phishing schemes in 2019. Not surprisingly, 39% of Americans do not check email sender or merchant sites for authenticity.
To top it off, 30% of respondents said they lost $ 500 or more last year alone.
If RiskIQ's data shows that, expect an increase in messages over the coming months, allegedly from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or other major retailers. If you receive an email requesting you to update your payment method or request other personal information, contact the company's help desk to make sure the email is genuine before you do anything else.
Other ways to identify a phishing e-mail, according to the Federal Trade Commission and StaySafeOnline.org:
- The sender's e-mail address looks almost correct, but contains extra characters or misspellings.
- Spelling mistakes and / or incorrect grammar either in the subject line or anywhere in the message.
- Addresses you with general terms ("Mr." or "Ms." or "Dear Customer") instead of the name.
- message warns that you must take action immediately, and asks you to click a link and enter personal information, especially payment information.
- The news promises a refund, coupons or other giveaways.
The skimming of credit cards is completely digital.
Credit card skimmers who steal your personal information when you steal a credit or debit card at an ATM dispenser or other payment desk have been around for more than a decade, but the attack on Macy & # 39; s in October is an example of this same technology put digitall y.
Essentially, instead of using physical hardware to steal card numbers, hackers put malicious code directly on Macy's website to do the same with online billing information.
Tim Mackey, chief security strategist at Synopsis, a digital security company, warns that online credit card overflows: "There is no obvious way for the average person to determine if or when a website was compromised this may be because the site itself does not look quite right. "http://www.cnet.com/"
Mackey suggests some strategies that consumers can use to protect themselves:  Do not save your credit card information Retail Sites.
While this is theoretically possible, the likelihood of this happening to you is incredibly low, as the site Snopes.com, which destroys the urban myth, recently highlighted in a post.
When TechCrunch contacted the LA County Attorney and asked how far the problem was, the Attorney General's Office failed to confirm any actual cases of "juice robbing" in the books. One reason could be that most of the smartphones and tablets currently in use have software that prevents exactly these types of attacks. Therefore, you are asked if you trust the connection when you connect it to a laptop or desktop to charge it.
As long as purchases are made, scammers and thieves will continue to try to demolish you. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to be ahead of the tricks and protect yourself with knowledge. For more strategies to survive this fun yet stressful season, check out our Holiday Survival Guide. We have put together the best tips and tricks to reduce stress after shopping for a marathon. Learn how to use intelligent wizard to manage your vacation gathering, whether you use Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and how to eat healthy without sacrificing dessert.
Originally released earlier this month.