Don't Let the Grinch Steal Christmas:
Precise Investigation is urging all readers to be weary of scams this Christmas, following an update from Scamwatch.
With online shopping presenting such an effective way to purchase presents leading up to Christmas, it unfortunately has a range of drawbacks, most prevailing of which are the pitfalls set up by scammers to steal your bank and credit card information as you shop for gifts.
Scammers often set up fake websites that look just like the real deal, with all functionality, items and branding looking identical to the real site that you intended to visit, the only differences being that the scammers definitely don’t stock the items you’re intending to buy, and the payment gateway you’re going to use is set-up specifically to store the credit card details you use.
Another common scam around this time of year, is the “fake parcel” delivery scam, where the fraudsters send randomized emails to potential victims, informing them of an undelivered parcel that they ordered. In most cases, these emails seem to have been sent from leading couriers such as FedEx, DHL and UPS. Unfortunately, however, these emails provide victims with a link, that when clicked, infect their computers with ransomware, a type of virus that shuts down all computer functionality until a ransom is paid via a payment portal within the virus’ makeup.
In some cases, even if the ransom is paid, the computer remains infected and unusable.
There’s another form of the same scam too, where the “courier” asks a small fee to have the item redelivered, ranging from $10 to $30, payable by wire transfer or credit card. If the victims opt for the wire transfer, the money simply vanishes, and for those unlucky enough to use their credit card details, their account details are compromised, leading to further expenses as the scammers clone their cards or use those details to make purchases online.
Stay protected this Christmas and do your best to be vigilant. There are a number of ways to determine whether an email you’ve received is genuine, or the website you’re using is, in fact, real.
A classic and widely understood method to determine the sincerity of an email or website is the following:
Check to make sure the name of the sender and the email address are the same, often scammers will use strange email addresses that look genuine, only to find that the sender has a completely different name to that listed in the address.
One additional step, especially if the email discusses money, is to simply call the rel company and ask for details about the contents of the email. In most cases, they’ll be able to tell you whether the email is real or fake.
Firstly, copy and paste the website’s URL (web address) into a review website or website analyser site, such as www.scamadviser.com - these types of sites will often be able to show you whether the site you’re hoping to purchase from is legitimate.
Secondly, most large companies that operate online have SSL certificates, especially those that handle any form of payment over the internet. If it’s missing, then it’s likely that the site you’re using is a fake. To see whether a site has an SSL certificate, simply refer to the web address; if it says “https” instead of “http”, then it’s likely to be real, if not, we suggest you close it and look elsewhere.
Image credit: Thank you, Marco Verch from Flickr