Today is Cyber Monday, the 24-hour online shopping period during which consumers can snag good deals and bargains. It is also the perfect environment for cybercriminals, cybersecurity experts say.
FBI agents are warning Cyber Monday shoppers to be aware of scammers who are targeting holiday shoppers.
They say scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims.
Below are some tips provided by the FBI to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
- Be cautious of emails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Always run a virus scan on attachment before opening.
- Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
- Always compare the link in the email to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
- Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the email, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email. If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
- Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify that the email is genuine.
- If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
- If you receive a request for personal information from a business or financial institution, always look up the main contact information for the requesting company on an independent source (phone book, trusted Internet directory, legitimate billing statement, etc.) and use that contact information to verify the legitimacy of the request.
- Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- New research indicates that half of all phishing scams are now hosted on Web sites whose Internet address includes the padlock and begins with “https://”.
To report online scams, file a complaint with the Internet Crimes Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.