Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest times for Cyber Criminals
By Kip Kirchberg
The two busiest shopping days of the year are fast approaching. As excited shoppers are prepared to rush out to stores on Black Friday to capture the deals of the year, others sit at home behind their computers waiting to capture online deals Cyber Monday. While these are exciting times for shoppers, this is also a very exciting time for Cyber Criminals.
According to Chain Store Age the highest percentage of credit card fraud occurs during the month of November. Criminals take advantage of the busiest shopping days of the year and utilize stolen credit cards to make their own purchases.
Black Friday holds the record for having the highest number of fraudulent credit card purchases made in person. Simply put most store associates are overwhelmed with busy shoppers and do not take the time to verify credit card holder information. This allows many criminals the ability to slip under the radar and get away with fraudulent in person credit card purchases.
To protect yourself please DO NOT use a bank debit card to make store or online purchases. If you do use a debit card to make purchases, you are putting your money and bank information at risk. Debit Cards give Cyber Criminals instant access to any cash you have in your bank account. In the event your debit card is stolen and your bank account is drained of all its cash, you could be facing a long and painful process attempting to recover lost funds. Fraudulent debit card account recovery can take anywhere from days to months and in rare cases the money may never be recovered.
Instead, protect yourself and utilize a credit card to make any in store or online purchases during this holiday shopping season. Federal law limits consumer liability for unauthorized usage. In most cases where fraudulent credit card purchases were made the Credit Card Company simply cancels the card, issues credits for unauthorized charges, and mails out replacement cards in a couple days. Much easier to deal with vs unauthorized debit card transactions.
Online cyber criminals utilize Cyber Monday as a way to capture new credit card data. Cyber criminals will send out an email called a “phishing email” to potential victims. On the surface the email will appear to be from a legitimate store or online retailers. Many times the email will contain the company logo’s, legitimate looking links, and create copy cat ads that are identical to what is advertised elsewhere.
In many cases, these picture perfect ad replicas can be almost impossible to detect even by a trained professional.
The objective of the Cyber Criminal is to get you to click on the email link they provided. Many times this link will ask you for login information to sites like amazon or ask you to provide credit card information to complete a purchase. Once the cybercriminal gets you to enter your information from the link they provided they will quickly scrape as much identity and financial data as they can. This new credit card and account data is then sold on the dark web.
To avoid becoming a victim of a “Phishing Email” DO NOT click on the link provided in the email. Instead open a new web browser and manually go to the retailers website and purchase from there. This is the best way to ensure you are dealing with the actual retailer and not a cyber-criminal.
What I shared above was not intended to damper your Holliday shopping plans. The goal is to provide you information on how you can be better prepared to make purchases this Holliday Season. Good Luck and Happy Shopping!