The huge increase in online sales this holiday season will trigger repeated transactions, fake websites, fake emails, and outright shopping frauds.
Online buyers are more on guard than ever.
According to forecasts by Adobe Analytics, many consumers will not line up to buy on Black Friday but will hit their laptops and iPhones, spending $10.3 billion online, an increase of 39% over the same period last year.
On the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend, Cyber Monday, online sales may soar to $12.7 billion.
Overall, Adobe’s data shows that from November 1 to December 31, online holiday spending is expected to reach 189 billion U.S. dollars, expected growth of 33%. According to Adobe’s estimates, there may be two growth seasons for a holiday.
However, as scammers step up preparations for what may be their best vacation, millions of dollars may be lost.
Disturbingly, these scams may not be easy to spot, as fraudsters are increasingly looking for ways to target potential victims, copy enough logos and images to look legitimate, and use social media to attract shoppers.
Consumer watchdogs have heard the voice of consumers, and they found advertisements on social media that looked like a great gift but did not live up to expectations.
In some cases, consumers complained that they faced the difficulty of getting the credit card company to allow them to dispute the charge because the consumer did receive an item, even if it was far below expectations.
Sophisticated algorithms can drive specific types of ads to your Facebook or Instagram account. But some of these quotations are provided by suppliers with poor reputations. The best option is not to click on any links in these ads or emails. Instead, visit the website directly. And research the company name and terms such as complaints or comments.
The pandemic may change the way people shop during this holiday, and this shift may give cyber scammers an advantage. According to TransUnion’s 2020 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, only 21% of consumers said they plan to shop in person at Black Friday events and transactions.
About 76% of consumers (or three-quarters of consumers) plan to do more than half of their holiday online shopping this year. According to TransUnion’s survey, this is an increase from 57% last year.
Naturally, many people worry about being victimized by fraud. Some people usually shop in stores but may go online this holiday, rather than grooming them during the pandemic. For people who have never shopped online in the past, the real old scam may look good.
2020 is an online shopping season
Deals on the latest PlayStation 5
We are seeing suspicious offers on the latest PlayStation 5 and the prices of promised transactions on the website are rising, with a retail price of about $500. Some scams even involve bargains on the old PS4.
Last month, a consumer found a deal on the online marketplace OfferUp. The price of the PS4 was $115 with the shipping cost was $45. According to consumers, they paid for individual transactions through CashApp, but the gaming system never arrived, and potential buyers no longer have control of the seller.
There are some tips for consumers.
When you are trying to buy gifts online, never use prepaid gift cards, CashApp, or Venmo to make payments or send money to others. Use your credit card (not a debit card) to provide better consumer protection.
Companies such as CashApp and Venmo are peer-to-peer payment systems, which mean you can transfer money from friends to friends, from family members to family members, rather than from strangers to strangers.
During the pandemic, puppy scams quickly became popular as people stayed at home and wanted company. Entering the holiday season, crooks once again look for dogs or cats.
Scammers used COVID-19 as an excuse to charge more for transportation and claimed that airlines had higher costs for handling animal transportation during the pandemic.
Dave Baggett, CEO of INKY, a Maryland-based phishing provider, said that online sites look like real transactions, but cybercriminals are designing “same and perfect brand forgery sites.”
Entering such, a bad site may end up downloading malware onto your computer.
Take the time to find strange clues that can suggest fake websites. “Https://” in the URL does not mean that you can guarantee that the website is legal. Consumers need to be suspicious of the long domain name.
By offering special coupons, bonuses, or gift cards to popular retailers on Facebook, some scams started. Consumers should regard too real prizes or transactions as a huge red flag.
Scammers will send out formal-looking emails claiming to be order confirmations from Amazon, but sometimes they will also send confirmations for items you haven’t purchased.
Amazon recommends that you first check your purchases, and then “check if there is an order that matches the details in the letter.”
You should be alert to emails that look like they can be sent to a wide range of people, such as emails that begin with “Hello Amazon Customer.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, many people received a wider variety of deliveries. Criminals began to deceive food delivery services such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats.
Holiday shoppers can get into chaos with tricky return policies, which can be hidden in the beautiful text. Can you buy gifts online and get a full refund? On the other hand, if you need to send back some items, will high replenishment fees hit you?
Certain items cannot be returned, so it is important to read the printed matter carefully before purchasing, according to the warning from the Better Business Bureau.
Also, pay special attention to any promises related to when the item will be delivered. Do you place an order that cannot be shipped in time during the holidays?
Beware of bad customer service
Don’t simply lookup phone numbers for customer service on the Internet? Scammers were able to post false customer support phone numbers for various large companies, including Amazon, online, and consumers were deceived.
The Better Business Bureau warned last year that you should never use your family’s smart devices (such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Home) to look up the customer support number of any company (including airlines) and let the system call you phone.