The biggest online shopping day of the year is here and many have been clicking that checkout button all day long but, cyber experts say, think before you click.
It is a shoppers dream all the gifts you need at the price you want in the comfort of your own home but, while you’re eyeing those deals — cyber criminals are eyeing you.
“You can sit in a foreign country and reap millions of dollars on a day like today, millions of dollars an hour from consumers under the right conditions and its just an easy target opportunity for the lack of education consumers have overall,” said Scott Scheidt, Executive Director for the Center of Applied Cyber Research at Georgia Southern University.
Cybercriminals all over the world are targeting shoppers through fake emails, blowout deals, and even look-alike websites.
“You see on the walmart.com or the whatever site that you’re on. You kind of just see the ad see the deal you kind of assume because its there in that compact environment that it is okay and that’s not always the case it can still have major vulnerability risks there,” said Scheidt.
He warns that consumers are even more vulnerable when shopping on their smartphones because the average cell phone doesn’t have the same level of security as our laptops and home computers do.
“One of the tips we give for kind of monitoring and being aware of suspicious activity is to kind of hover the mouse over a particular link look down in the bottom left corner to kind of gage that on a smartphone you are less likely to do that,” said Scheidt.
His advice? check the link and check it twice.
“The long-term effects could last for years it could end up at a point where someone has to work towards identity recovery truly for their family it could be catastrophic for their family for finances as well as living situation,” said Scheidt.
He advises that you remain vigilant after making your purchases. Many scammers go to work the week after Cyber Monday and Black Friday sending fake shipping notifications so they can steal your packages.
He says always verify the legitimacy of the notification with the company if you aren’t sure.