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Be Careful: Cyber Monday Is a Fraudsters’ Potential Bonza

November 30, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Forty percent of online fraud is committed during the last three months of the year according to information released by e-commerce security company, Trustev. The rush to save money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a prime opportunity for fraudsters. In one example uncovered by security researchers at zScaler, an application designed to look like the official Amazon one, but which does not work so well, was able to delve deep into your device after being installed and run. Unfortunately, uninstalling the application does not solve the issue. One of the reasons why there is a significant jump in online fraud is because there is a significant jump in online transactions – Cyber Monday’s online transactions are estimated to top $2.5 billion in the US. In the words of Tim Erlin, an executive at cybersecurity business Tripwire, “For cybercriminals, Cyber Monday is like Christmas.”

One of the reasons is because many of us are excited at the savings on offer and sometimes, these amount to a considerable amount. Fraudulent links with the promise of massive savings are rapidly becoming the normality. The issue is where people click on a link and provide information to a website, which contains a password that the individual also uses for social network, online banking and work email accounts. Cybercriminals with an authentic-looking third party application or website are in a prime position to encourage customers install software onto their mobile devices, and once their application is on your device, your data is potentially compromised.

What can we, as consumers, do to protect ourselves? There are some simple tricks. The first is to use a trusted search engine, which to most readers is Google. The second is to use the retailers’ website typed into a browser. Visiting a website from a link in your email or on a post in social media is asking for trouble, as the Facebook post may be itself a fraudent post. Another tip is to check your credit card statements on a regular and frequent basis, as criminals usually test a captured card details on a small item before trying a larger item. Many banks and credit card companies can also set up a card transaction or activity alert service whereby every time a card is used, the financial business will message you with some details. If you have legitimately conducted the transaction, you will be expecting this. But if you have not, it will mean you can put a stop to any fraudulent activity quickly and easily.