’Tis the Season to…Get Scammed
Like millions of others, Dawn Karlsson in Gothenburg, Sweden, regularly makes online purchases with her credit card, but this holiday season she will be stepping foot in the stores instead.
Karlsson’s credit card details were stolen, she thinks, via a so-called "safe" retail website. An investigation is ongoing to find out how thousands of Swedish kronor were racked up on her card in Spain.
"I have lost total faith in online purchases and will not be giving my card number out to anyone online again," Karlsson told Lavasoft News.
With an updated system, especially anti-spyware software and a firewall, shoppers like Karlsson are much better prepared to tackle the season's malware challenges. Still, shoppers everywhere are being urged to be extra vigilant this month as cyber criminals gear up to launch organized, large-scale attacks. And it is a big group for these hackers to sink their teeth into.
Consumer Reports predicts that a record 50 per cent of all shoppers will use the web for at least one purchase this holiday season. More than 100 million Americans alone are expected to get their gifts online in 2006.
"Identity fraud picks up during the holidays because that's when the credit-card companies have to turn off their monitoring software that flags suspicious transactions," said Todd Davis, an IT-theft prevention expert at LifeLock Inc. "There are still some triggers the software will catch, but the companies cut it way back - otherwise the system would crash, because there are so many transactions during the holidays."
The holiday shopping season provides the perfect scenario for hackers to use spyware, keyloggers and phishing techniques to steal passwords and private information from shoppers. Fake websites that impersonate real companies or offer fake products and services are a popular choice to lure victims this year.
Here is how to avoid being a victim:
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