With more people shopping online than ever, cyber criminals are having a bit of a feast on your finances this holiday season.
Take a panedmic, add the holidays, and what do you get?
If you’re a scammer, it’s more online targets.
“Working from home I do a lot of online shopping,” said Lauren McCormick in Greenville.
What’s convenient for McCormick is also making it easier on scammers.
“When you get any kind of email or a text message about a great deal on a product you’ve got to be skeptical because this is where the bad guys lure us in,” said Steve Weisman, the founder of Scamacide.com.
Weisman warns watch out for a new holiday scam claiming there’s something wrong with your Amazon order.
“Once a day. Once a day I get something notifying me from Amazon that I’ve ordered something and it’s coming or they need further information from me and of course I don’t answer it, I know better,” said Kathy Brady in Greenville.
Fortunately Brady can spot a scam.
But what about those texts with a link to track your package. Many are legit, but not all.
“If I see something like that I am definitely like wait did I actually order that thing because I’ve been ordering so much with Christmas,” said McCormick.
It’s best not to click but instead go directly to the company’s site.
Cyber experts also warn search engines don’t always effectively weed out bogus shopping sites.
“Their algorithms can be manipulated so high on a search would be a phony website. Same thing is there are counterfit websites that look like Target that look like Walmart, and some of these counterfits are really really good looking,” said Weisman.
To figure out if a site is legitimate, Weisman says just enter that URL in a website called WhoIs.com. There you can see who owns it and if it originates in the US or abroad.
Likewise, other helpful sites like Charity Navigator can save you from donating to scammers.
Finally, keep in mind when that phone rings, don’t trust the caller ID.
“I get more scam calls than I get serious calls that I know about,” said Mike Brady in Greenville.
Scammers can spoof anybody’s number, so don’t let them do a number on you.