With the U.S. economy much improved, this year’s Christmas season is expected to be one of the best in years, and with the advance of digital technology, smartphones will be a key buying method for many consumers.
Put those elements together and you have the latest “off the press” scam – the use of phony text messages and Whatsapp messages to spread malware, ransomware, and general misery. According to one study, one in every 25 apps supposedly issued by retailers especially for Black Friday were fraudulent – researchers found no fewer than 32,000 phony apps — delivering not news of a special “secret sale” but malware that could steal your credit card information, lock up your device in a ransomware scam, or unleash a malware agent on a corporate server if your device connects to the company’s network.
Cybercriminals are set up make up to $1 billion this year using an array of phony deals and online scams, according to the BI; a report from ACI Worldwide, meanwhile, predicts that online fraud attempts will rise 43 percent during this year’s holiday season.
Here are some of the most common scams that can trick even the smartest of us at this time of year:
1. The online secret shopper: The old “secret shopper” scam is back this year with a new online variation. As a secret shopper, victims are supplied with gift cards they can use to go shopping “on assignment,” evaluating a site’s customer service, delivery, and the like. As a reward, you get to keep the items you order, and/or actually get paid for your work.
Of course, if there is such as thing as an “online secret…