Shopping in the present world can be fun and with everything that can be bought online makes shopping convenient and easy. Since shopping is easier and more convenient it is also easier for scammers to get what they want from their victims if they are not careful. Due to everything being accessible online and there being an increase of third-party sellers, an increase of scammers has emerged as well as their tactics to trick their victims. Staying protected and having good awareness can go a long way when encountering scammers especially during the holiday season.
Holidays are when scammers thrive and take advantage of the situation since people become desperate to buy items and gifts because around the holidays are when the deals are the best.
Scams come in many ways and are often easy to spot when you encounter one. Since spirits are high scammers hope that the pressure of getting what you want gets the best of you to affect your judgment. Time is of the essence when it comes deals or limited stock on the holidays but there are red flags to this. The classic “too good to be true” statement is a good rule to keep in mind when shopping. This statement goes a long way because it can be applied to shopping as well as emails or texts that want you to claim a reward. Although some scams may look real there are safe practices and different methods in verifying if something is legit or not.
Shopping online there can be many things that are very misleading but look convincing enough for you to engage on it. While there are a lot of methods scammers use to trick victims there are a few that stand out and are most successful. A scam can also be someone advertising a product that is popular and pricing it to where it is too good to pass up. This usually leads to you getting a very low-quality product and not at all what you wanted. Mainly seen in sites that have 3rd party vendors whose support team is not the best or very hard to get in touch with and usually sell items which can easily be counterfeit like clothing or devices. It is import that when shopping from a 3rd party, to see if there are any reviews and/or pictures of the products received by the seller.
Urgency is a key element when it comes to scams which is very common during the holidays and these scams usually have an absurd discount attached that exceeds over 80% and push you to act now because the deal is for a limited time only. The discounts specifically applied to the items you want usually are reasonable but to best spot a scam is to see the price from competitors. A scammer will create a very hard to pass bargain but this usually ends with disappointment along with a fake site or seller that will take your money and personal information. The seller will also express urgency in hopes that you act fast and do not think it through and see the red flags.
There are many 3rd party scammer vendors that offer services but the service is poor and the scam is sneaky when it comes to payment time. It is important to read fine prints when purchasing a subscription, an item, or even getting a free trail. Fine prints in this case can be hidden in places where you have to really search for it in order to see it. Common in one-time purchases if not careful you can agree to recurring charges that will be hard to cancel or reach someone as they purposefully make the customer service practically nonexistent. It is always important to read the fine print especially from 3rd party vendors and vendors/sites you have not heard of or visited in the past.
Free stuff and rewards are amazing but when it comes to the internet, falling for this scam could have you end up losing money and potentially important personal information. Examples that usually fall under this type of scam usually include free trials and free gifts/items. Be very cautious when someone wants to give something to you for free with nothing from you in exchange because most of the time it is a scam.
When it comes to getting something for free, a scammer will do their best to make it seem legit. Red flags for this include them wanting you to provide personal information like your bank account information and sensitive data to claim the gift or money reward.
Look at the sender and their message for any typos as well as who sent it. If the sender is someone you have never spoke to or did not do anything to earn something free from an entity then that will most likely be a scam. If a link is sent in order to claim the free item do not trust it especially if it the first time the sender is contacting you. Once lured into the trap scammers will use their resources to get as much sensitive information about you to use for their personal gain to take as much money from you as possible.
While there are many scams to look out for on the holidays, there are safe practices to follow to stay safe during the season of giving and of course, shopping. When shopping online be sure to look for “https” at the beginning of a website link as the “s” means it is secured along with a small lock icon in the address bar as well. Trust your instinct because if something does not feel right then it probably is a scam. If you are uncertain then do research on the company and search with “scam” alongside the company name to get results.
Avoid websites and sellers that offer a huge discount and free stuff in exchange for your information. Never click on links that are from an unverified person as clicking on it can cause your device to download malware. Using a credit card when shopping can be helpful because if you do get scammed, you might only be liable for a small percentage of what was taken from you with the other alternative being losing it all.
The Holiday season is truly the most wonderful time of the year but you still have to be cautious. Spreading awareness is important especially to loved ones as everyone is a target. The rise of scams is at an all-time high so it is important to be informed on how to be protected. Surf and shop safely and from all of us here at Firestorm Cyber… Happy Holidays!