Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, which means it is also the single biggest opportunity for criminals to steal cash, personal information, and credit card numbers.
Crooks rely on a range of scams that take advantage of susceptible folks as well as use malware technology to automate the theft of sensitive personal and financial data. Some of these criminal plans have been around for years, and with upgrades and revisions they are still effective today. So stay on your guard, especially around the holidays.
Here are some useful tips from the FBI:
- Do not respond to – by clicking on links and opening attachments – unsolicited emails.
- Do not fill out forms in such emails that ask for personal information.
- Even if an email seems legitimate, such as from your bank, log on to web sites directly rather than clicking on links. Look up those URLs independent from whatever is contained in the email.
- Only shop at reputable online sites.
- When you Google a site, double check the URL of the top-listed sites before clicking. (Some criminals pay for high placements in search results.)
- Make sure payment pages are encrypted – i.e. start with HTTPS.
[Reference: “Hack the Halls: Watch Out for Cyber Monday Scamathon,” Tim Greene, Network World, 11/25/2014.]