Be on the lookout for these potential Cyber ​​Monday scams

You are probably already looking for the best Cyber ​​Monday shopping deals online. Here’s another recommendation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation: keep your eyes peeled for a slight increase in cyber scams, too.

Ahead of this year’s shopping sprees, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to buyers and businesses to be vigilant against attacks used by cybercriminals to steal your money and personal information.

“Malicious cyber actors don’t make the same vacation plans you do,” the FBI and DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a joint press release last week. “Recent trends in 2021 show malicious cyber actors launching serious and hard-hitting ransomware attacks over the holidays and weekends. “

Cyber ​​Monday is the nation’s biggest online shopping day. Last year, Americans spent a record $ 10.8 billion online while on vacation. This makes this year’s edition a particularly attractive day for cybercriminals to target buyers and businesses with a variety of tactics, from phishing scams to bogus e-commerce websites, according to government agencies.

Here are three of those tactics, along with advice from the CISA, FBI, and other leading experts on how to identify and defeat them:

Phishing scams

In phishing scams, cybercriminals pose as reputable organizations – like a charity or one of your favorite retail brands – and send you emails that encourage you to download coins. attachments or click on a hyperlink or photos in the email. In June, credit reporting agency TransUnion found that digital fraud attempts such as phishing attacks were up 25% in the United States from 2020.

You may be able to detect illegitimate emails based on the sender email address, which often looks like a trusted address, but with garbled or missing characters. Another red flag: a generic greeting with spelling or grammar errors in the body of the email.

The FBI and CISA have said you should always be wary of unsolicited emails – and you can protect yourself by always verifying the sender’s address, never following hyperlinks in the body of the email. mail and never replying with personal information.

Fraudulent websites

Sometimes cybercriminals create fake websites that are supposed to look like real websites that would normally attract hordes of holiday shoppers.

CISA recommends always checking the website URL. “Malicious websites may look the same as a legitimate site, but the URL may use a spelling variation or a different domain,” the agency’s website notes.

For example, a fraudulent website could use a “.net” domain instead of “.com”. CISA also recommends making sure that the website you are browsing has a URL beginning with “https” – “an indication that the sites are secure,” the agency says – as opposed to “http”.

On Tuesday, CNBC reported that scam websites could be particularly popular during this year’s holiday shopping season. Many popular gifts are expected to be sold out, and a false promise of availability could be attractive to many buyers.

As of last month, the Federal Trade Commission said it had received nearly 58,000 reports of Covid-related consumer fraud from online shopping scams dating back to January 2020, more than any other category of fraud.

The FTC is also warning vacation buyers to keep an eye out for social media scams, where crooks might advertise discounts or prizes on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter – only to lead you to a malicious website where they may collect your personal data.

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