The holiday season is right around the corner, so naturally, numerous scams are making rounds on the internet. But don’t worry, because the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking out for you!
The FBI has issued a warning against online shoppers following the surge in American customers not receiving their products after purchasing them. Recently, the FBI released a statement proclaiming that an increasing number of victims is being directed to fraudulent sites online through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The automatic rise in complaints suggest that orders that placed via these sites don’t match the actual products or that they only got facemasks from China, regardless of what they had ordered.
Amongst others, Amazon Prime scams are alarmingly high at the moment. FBI has dived deep into the dark side of the web and discovered a bunch of fraudulent activities that can cause you significant damage.
Most scammers own private domains to avoid personal details from being published in the Who is Public Internet Directory. Therefore, instead of “.com” some of the sites use the internet high-end domains, like “.club” and “.top” to appear more reliable and authentic. However, these websites usually contain copied content from legitimate websites and unassociated US addresses and contact details, which ends up misleading the users as they manage to buy the lie.
Source: Cape Carol Police Department
In addition, victims are lured with the guarantee that items are uncompromised and being sold at low prices. Some even claim that, due to the high demand due to lockdown SOPs, the delivery may take longer than expected.
Reesha Dedhia is a security evangelist at PerimeterX. She said: “In addition to ads on social media platforms and search engines, we have also recently seen a scam from browser extensions that involve redirecting a shopper’s browser to a bunch of malicious domains and websites with the goal of stealing a user’s data and displaying malicious ads."
Below we’ve compiled the biggest online scams cleverly devised to trap innocent users online:
You may also refer to this site as zombie listings; these pages deliberately don’t provide you with customer reviews that match with the actual products. Basically, scammers search for inactive or abandoned listings and make up dishonest testimonials themselves or simply copy from the internet.
After catching the target, they control the listings and update the images and other pictorial descriptions to match the product they’re selling. As a result, a page that was originally meant to sell pairs of socks ends up displaying coffee mugs with a number of 5-star reviews. Scammer obviously attracts customers as the testimonials are designed to lure even the most indecisive ones.
The idea is to not buy the fantasy. Apart from the ratings, you should spend time reading the reviews and studying the whole website. This is one of the most common scams out there! Hence, if you find that the website has pictures similar to the ones you viewed on other sites or that some images seem to be repeated throughout, just know that something is fishy.
What’s that one trait that makes it easy for the scammers to trick you? Naivety!
Many websites take advantage of you by cold-calling customers and claiming that they are representatives of prestigious companies; so they might hit you up and claim to be employees of Amazon and suggest that you were wrongfully charged for a product or something along those lines.
Eventually, the customer would dial the customer care representatives and find out that their account has been compromised. Excuses like their system error or technical glitches will drop once or twice during these conversations. Anyway, the next thing you know, they have your password and remote access. This is essentially the new way of age-old Microsoft Tech scam.
By giving scammers access to your computer, you give them hold of your credit card information as well as other passcodes. You’re literally putting yourself in a dangerously compromising situation.
Another way is that you’ll receive emails. Like, you could receive a fake email claiming that you have accidentally bought the Amazon Prime subscription or something and that you must provide the credit card details to them now.
Another persistent scam that emerges every holiday season is the Account Opening trick. Thousands of people have reported this crime in the past and it’s something that you must keep in mind during the upcoming holiday season.
You might receive a call from a recognized company, claiming that some account has opened up in your name, and by pressing one, your call will be transported to a chat representative, who’ll be resolving your so-called issue. This way, the fraudulent would gain access to your device and achieve profit. You must hang up the call immediately if the person makes such claims.
Also, try and report it immediately, so that no one else falls prey to this threat.
This is the latest trend in the scamming world! Have you ever checked up the reviews on eCommerce websites? Users tend to see the ratings and price tag at most and make the decision to make the purchase, but what’s the hurry?
You should always make the effort to read the reviews on the website, because most of them tend to be repetitive and dishonest.
You know when that one friend keeps yapping on and on about something and you know that it’s all lies? Like, you can detect it easily? Well, that is exactly what we mean here. Every person has the ability to detect bullshit. So read the reviews and then go with your gut.
So, here’s how you might fall prey to this scamming technique or any online shopping scam: someone might contact you on your social media platform, like Facebook and Instagram, and they might offer you a free product in exchange for a good review. This person would agree to the terms and leave a review as discussed. However, they’d never get the product as promised - it rarely ever happens (maybe only if you’re an influencer or some famous internet personality).
This way, not only does the victim gets fooled, but others who buy from the website buy the false review and receive poor-conditioned products or no delivery at all.
These online shopping scams are at the peak during fall and holiday season because people are desperate to get low-priced gifts and decoration stuff. Hence, the FBI has discovered these traps to warn and keep you alert.
So which one do you consider the biggest online scam?