Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is followed in marketing lingo by Cyber Monday. Both are big days for retailers and online fraudsters. Consumers should watch out for e-mails advertising incredible deals that seem too good to be true.
A common scam is to pick the hot toy of the season and send out a spam e-mail blast offering it for much less than the typical price, Henry says. Victims end up entering credit card information on malicious sites designed to look like well-known, trusted ones. They might also unknowingly download a keylogger that can steal personal information people type in when making any kind of Internet transaction.
“Be leery of sites being advertised [in e-mail that might be spam]. In all likelihood you’re being directed to a malware-connected site,” Henry says. “Do not click on URLs within e-mails even for well-known public sites.”
Online fraudsters have been busy this year. Fraud losses related to U.S. e-commerce will top $3.6 billion in 2007, up 20% from last year, according to a report by the vendor CyberSource this month. The increase in dollar loss is due mostly to growing e-commerce sales, as the percentage of transactions that are fraudulent has held steady.
The run-up to Christmas and tax filing season are the two most dangerous times of the year for online shoppers.