Cyber Monday in the United States is the first Monday after Black Friday and is another major busy American shopping day. Cyber Monday follows hot on the heels of Black Friday and is also a time when cybercriminals, Identity thieves, malware writers, and online scam artists push their unsavory code and wares on unsuspecting online shoppers.
With Cyber Monday less than five days away, it is time to take note of the online shopping scams that will pop up immediately after Black Friday. When shopping online you should always use legitimate and familiar web sites, use SSL encryption (HTTPS with a padlock icon), never shop using unsecured WiFi, and avoid shopping on public computers.
The Cocoon Top five Cyber Monday Scams that you should avoid next week:
1-SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Poisoning
According to Jovi Unawing of GFI Labs: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the most targeted holidays for malicious scams. The volume of product searches and online transactions that take place during these few days creates an opportunity for cybercriminals to target online shoppers with SEO poisoning, malicious links on social media sites, phishing scams and other attack methods.” - Computer World
Be aware that searching for “Cyber Monday Deals” can become dangerous when utilizing a search engine to locate these awesome deals! Generally, malicious and fraudulent sites will not appear on the first 5-10 pages of a search engine query.
Nielsen conducted research looking at over five million shopping sessions and the search terms used in those sessions and found one in five bargain hunters (American and European) wound up on sites selling counterfeit goods. The ones who were taken to the rogue sites had searched terms like “cheap,” “discount” and “outlet”. - Andrea Smith | Mashable
Hackers and scammers create fraudulent websites that officially have the look and feel of the real deal. Make sure that the web link that you are conducting business on is legitimate. Anyone who has their own domain can create sub-domains that sound like a well respected domain, such as dell.anydomain.com. The dot before anydomain.com is a subdirectory and is not a legitimate dell.com site. Thus, a subdomain such as cyberMonday.dell.com is legitimate where a subdomain called Dell-cyberMonday.anydomain.com is not.
The BBB recommends avoiding offers on websites that sound too good to be true, only shop on trustworthy sites, and be sure to verify an “unknown” seller’s reputation and record at the BBB site prior to considering an online purchase.
3-Email Phishing Scams
You receive an exclusive “Cyber Monday Discount” offer in an unsolicited email. Never click the link in an unsolicited email or give out your credit card information. Clicking on an “exclusive discount” link could compromise your computer, download malware, and steal your personal information.
Problems with an online order? Don’t believe it. Pick up the phone and call the company!
4-Hacked Social Media Accounts
I’ve seen myriad social media accounts hacked during the past week. Hacked Twitter accounts tend to send direct messages to followers that contain a malicious link designed to steal your personal information or to compromise your computer.
On Facebook, it is generally a rogue app that promises a really cheap iPad or some other popular electronic device that appeals to the masses. A rogue direct message or fraudulent post on your Facebook timeline could come from someone you know and trust. Friends and trusted companies can get hacked on social media- so stay vigilant and be cautious when you receive messages that seem too good to be true.
5-Avoid Mobile Fake Apps
With so many people using mobile apps to shop online this year – use your mobile device and shop smart! Only download apps that come from a legitimate source such as the App Store or Google Play.
Adobe said that on Black Friday, consumers are expected to use their tablets and phones to shop more than any other day of the year with 24% of online visits projected to come from mobile. Overall, sales from tablets are expected to make up almost 14% of total sales, while smartphones will make up about 6.5% and other devices such as e-readers will constitute 1%. -Nasdaq
Since Cyber Monday is also a major American online shopping day – we can anticipate that tablets and phones will perhaps be comparable to the Black Friday Adobe statistics listed above.
*Bonus Online Shopping Tips
-Never forget the year of 2012 when hackers breached numerous online databases. Instead of saving your private information on shopping sites – enter as a “guest” or enter your credit card information for a one-time-purchase only.
-Never subscribe to “additional offers” or allow your personal information sent to third party partners or you may end up with your private information appearing on sites such as Spokeo.com
-Never use debit cards to make online purchases because they are connected to your bank account. Instead use a dedicated credit card or use a re-loadable, prepaid credit card.
-Use Cocoon on iOS to stay safe on public WiFi