Nov 21, 2012

Scammers Have the Best Deals on Cyber Monday

Some of you may have turkey on your mind, while others think past the feast and on to the online shopping.  Deals like “free Apple iPad if you click here” or “check out this site for 50% off all designer watches” sound too good to be true.  In fact, these deals are too good to be true.

The arrival of the shopping season brings more chances for consumers to fall prey to Internet shopping scams and cybercrime.  A record number of Americans plan to shop online this holiday season.   According to the National Retail Holiday (NRH) Consumer Spending Survey, 51.8 percent of consumers expect to utilize the Internet to purchase gifts and other holiday-related items this year.  In fact, the survey suggests that the average shopper expects to conduct nearly 40 percent of their holiday purchases on retail and company websites.  With cybercrime steadily increasing, consumers need to incorporate caution into buying decisions as they usher in the holiday spending season.

The world of Internet shopping offers vast possibilities to busy Americans looking for quick purchasing options.  According to NRH, comparative shopping options also represent a key portion of the Internet retail market.  As more Americans turn to the Internet for purchasing choices, hackers and thieves await greater gains through cybercrime.  A new study by Norton indicates that cybercrime claims 18 adult victims every second.  This means that over 1.5 million cybercrime victims are added to the digital misconduct list daily with losses averaging US $197 per victim globally.

With the shopping season preparing to enter full swing, cybercriminals target consumers with an array of Cyber Monday schemes, including fraudulent retail email promotions containing viruses, malware and hijacking mechanisms designed to spam victim contacts.  Other related schemes include phishing scams designed to lure consumers to fraudulent websites, inauthentic promotional offers and malicious posts on social media websites that encourage users to download videos containing harmful content.

Consumers and businesses share responsibility for making thoughtful decisions to help minimize cybercrime.  By implementing a few Internet safety procedures before shopping this weekend, buyers may avoid some common security risks.  For example, all Internet users should confirm the legitimacy of URL addresses and research the company through the Better Business Bureau before providing financial information.  Researching recent scams online may also reduce consumer Internet fraud, as cons receive considerable attention in chat rooms.  Finally, payment protection options, including PayPal, and security services, such as BillGuard, may assist consumers in keeping personal and financial information secure this buying season.  These few cyber security steps help make the difference between a contented buying experience and a lousy one.

Be sure to keep your wallets safe and your identities protected this holiday season.  For more tips on how to shop safely online, visit

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