Don’t Fall Victim to Cyber Scammers This Holiday Shopping Season – Rebellion Research

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Don’t Fall Victim to Cyber Scammers This Holiday Shopping Season

Cyber Security and Hacking

For many of us, the holiday season is truly “the most wonderful time of the year.” Family and friends gather and celebrate religious holidays and the upcoming new year as they share stories and make new memories that last a lifetime.

During this latter part of the year, you may be visited by friends or relatives carrying gifts, a good portion of which were likely purchased online. With retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Apple, growing on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce now accounts for a mind-boggling 21% of global retail sales as of 2022, with about 2.14 billion people shopping online in 2020, and total e-commerce sales reaching $4.9 trillion in 2021.

While online may offer consumers a savings by limiting the number of fill-ups needed at the pump, there are still drawbacks to limiting your holiday season shopping to the internet.

Firstly, a wave of cybercrooks have taken to publishing phony e-commerce sites that look identical to some of the reputable online retailers that you have previously shopped at. These websites may be hard to tell apart from the genuine article, but an easy way of identifying whether they are trustworthy is to look for a slight misspelling in the name of the site, so always carefully check the URLs you are visiting while engaging in online shopping.

You can also check whether a website is legitimate is by checking how long the domain has been registered for by entering it on whois.icann.org. Most scam sites are new and may only stay active through the holiday season. 

You should also always keep in mind to avoid public Wi-Fi connections which are often the target of hackers that can very easily infiltrate the network and collect your payment information while you’re making an online purchase.

If you didn’t read my previous column, do so after reading this one. In that piece, I outlined the dangers associated with questionable advertising practices online. This is another potential pitfall associated with online shopping. One of the more annoying practices is when advertisers program apps or websites to automatically display solicitations in new tabs or windows that randomly pop-up on a web surfer’s screen. These behaviors are reminiscent of adware. Adware like PushYouWorld is notorious for spamming customers with a plethora unsolicited advertisements. And are many times associated with other shady websites like Yt1s. For older or less-experienced internet shoppers, many of whom may find themselves living on a fixed income, this flurry of pop-ups ads can lead to unwanted downloads and purchases. 

Unsolicited texts and emails offering deals on products and services may also be a wolf in sheep’s clothing this holiday shopping season. Although many of the messages you receive this season may be benign, in many cases, some of the offers could be part of a phishing scheme. Once lured into the trap, you may find yourself unwittingly exposing your online payment data to hackers that will then quickly run up charges on your credit card account. 

Despite all the criminality that exists online, holiday shopping on the internet doesn’t have to be a dangerous proposition. If you remember to always be mindful of the basic rules of engagement, you can definitely enjoy a holiday shopping season free of the nightmares associated with being a victim of online fraud. Happy Holidays!

Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, President of JMI Strategies and JMI Strategies Global, Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics. Has been published by many of the most heavily trafficked websites in the world. 

Don’t Fall Victim to Cyber Scammers This Holiday Shopping Season

Cyber Security and Hacking

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