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Scammers Expected To Target Online Shoppers Leading Up To Christmas

Scams are on the rise this Christmas and people need to understand that Black Friday and the busy Christmas sales period are peak activity times for cyber criminals.

2020 has seen online shopping experience more demand than ever before. The Christmas period will likely see this trend continue with most Christmas shopping taking place online.

CERT NZ’s Quarter One and Quarter Two Report saw a 25% increase in phishing and credential harvesting, and a 229% increase in scams and fraud in Q2 of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

It is estimated that cyber security incidents like those mentioned above cost Kiwis $7.8 million in the first six months of 2020. This period coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown which saw an increase in economic activity online. However, CERT NZ reported that 3% of reported scams during this time were COVID-19 themed.

Furthermore, a recent survey of 1,537 credit cardholders, has revealed that as Kiwis gear up for pre-Christmas sales events such as Black Friday, credit cardholders are keeping a close eye on their statements. One in four (28%) New Zealanders are checking their credit card activity every day. On the other hand, nearly one in five (18%) credit cardholders admitted to only checking their statement monthly when it comes in the mail. (Source: Finder)

In light of this increased risk, NortonLifeLock cyber security expert, Mark Gorrie, provided some important tips on how to stay protected during the Christmas period:

  • The most common types of e-commerce scams include credit card fraud, identity theft, chargebacks, and bogus returns. Ways that consumers can protect themselves from e-commerce fraud include:
    • Shopping at secure websites
    • Doing research on the website before they place the order
    • Reading the site’s policies on privacy and security
    • Being mindful of cookies
    • Never giving out your social security number
  • Another common scam making the rounds on the internet involves fake websites. These sites resemble legitimate e-commerce websites, with credible-looking logos, pictures, and payment options. Here are some tips for ensuring a site is honest:
    • Ensure the URL code is legit
    • If you see low prices, or discounts above 55 percent, it might be too good to be true
    • Review the copyright date and domain creation date
    • Do not make purchases on young websites

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