Jul 24, 2013

Fourth of July means more to Internet scammers than fireworks and barbeques

The Fourth of July means more to Internet scammers than fireworks and barbeques.  Scambook, the leading consumer complaint resolution platform, published a new advisory statement to warn Internet users against a series of holiday-related scams sweeping across the U.S. this week.

Contained within three general categories, the recent Independence Day scams include phishing schemes, counterfeit tickets and misleading sales pitches.  Scammers use holiday eCards, videos and links to entice consumers to download attachments embedded with malware and viruses that damage computers or provide access to Internet activities and account information from hijacked systems, which may allow hackers to steal financial information, social security numbers and other private data.

Scambook also warns against sales campaigns aimed at driving holiday spending based on deceptive or ambiguous information.  Marketing campaigns that pressure buyers with holiday time limits and unknown no-return restrictions or contract fees may encourage holiday shoppers to spend too much and too quickly without examining all of the purchasing details.  Inauthentic retail websites also scam Independence Day shoppers through fraudulent websites that offer unbelievable savings on popular items in order to obtain financial data.

Lastly, the site alerts consumers to event swindlers who may sell fake tickets for fireworks shows and other specialty events to obtain credit card information and money.  These scammers prey upon the holiday frenzy of last-minute event seekers who miss out on sold-out offerings.

Maintaining a scam-free summer requires Internet users to stay informed about recent scamming trends and how to best protect computers and financial data from hackers and online fraud.  By following the few tips below, consumers may avoid the hazards of Internet scammers waving the all-too alluring flag of deceptive offerings this holiday:

  • Use current antivirus software from a trusted and reputable source and keep this software turned on at all times
  • Access the Internet using secure networks with stringent password settings
  • Never open emails from unknown individual and always avoid questionable downloads
  • Review all sales details before making purchasing decisions and avoid providing financial information to unknown websites
  • Conduct thorough Internet searches on events and retailers before purchasing tickets to holiday events
  • Make purchases on secure websites (sites that begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP or show the lock icon in the address bar)