Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry to interrupt your festivities, but right around the corner are the biggest shopping days of the year — Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The holidays draw millions of buyers every year looking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists. We want you and your families to be ready – and safe!
“With all these deals, unfortunately, fraudsters are also looking to cash in,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Let’s not give scammers any gifts, credit card information, or new identities this year,” said AG Rosenblum. “Before you open your wallet, review this list carefully to ensure you can shop confidently and make the most of all the great holiday deals. Be sure to review our ten practical tips as well!”
1. Non-delivery scam
If a deal seems too good to be true on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it probably is. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t. And surprise, surprise, the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared.
2. Gift card scam
In this scam, an online store will ask that you pay using a gift card. If this happens, it should raise big red flags. Gift cards are often utilized by cybercriminals to steal your money because these types of purchases cannot be tracked, and it is impossible to get your money back.
Treat gift cards like cash, never giving out your gift card number or PIN, and using them only with the issuing merchant. For example, you’d use a Target gift card at a Target store or Target.com.
3. Fake order scam
Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a “problem” with your online order.
But you never ordered anything! They want you to click the link in the phishing email, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds.
These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them!
4. Fake delivery scam
Phishing attacks go a step further in this scheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.
Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.
5. Fake website scam
Cybercriminals are setting up imitation websites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap.
If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.
To avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, review these 10 practical tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information online.
If you have fallen victim, be sure to report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.