Cyberscams on the rise as online holiday shopping starts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Cyberscams on the rise as online holiday shopping starts

There are new cyberscams you need to watch out for this holiday season and experts say the cons are more authentic and trickier than ever before. There are new cyberscams you need to watch out for this holiday season and experts say the cons are more authentic and trickier than ever before.
John Beran John Beran

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There are new cyberscams you need to watch out for this holiday season and experts say the cons are more authentic and trickier than ever before.

Cybergrinches are stealing the logos of major holiday brand names, including Louisville's own shipping giant, to fool unsuspecting shoppers like John Beran.

Beran said he woke up on Cyber Monday to an inbox full of offers, featuring everything from shoes to cell phones.

Beran admitted he clicks on those links from time to time.

"And where I can be fooled is when it has a brand coloring that I am familiar with," he said.

David Knight, executive vice president of messaging security firm Proofpoint, said holiday phishing emails carrying faked delivery confirmations and order notices have already begun to swell.

"They've gotten a lot more sophisticated in making messages look realistic," Knight said. "They are not all the same. They change items ordered and amounts."

Anti-phishing company Agari's analysis of billions of e-mail messages showed faked shipping company e-mails increased 62 percent in the third quarter, versus the second quarter. Based on historical patterns, the volume of faked shipping company e-mail messages can be expected to double in the final months of 2013.

Those scams are using the names of UPS, Fed Ex, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Toys R Us trick people into clicking links that can turn over control of your computer to the attacker, filling it with malware capable of stealing your personal and banking information.

It can even lock your computer until you pay a ransom, known as ransomware.

Knight said cyber thieves are banking on one in every 10 holiday themed phishing lures to be clicked on. UPS, Fed Ex and the Louisville Better Business Bureau have all posted warnings to their websites.

"These types of scams surface around the holidays when people are ordering online, when they're getting package deliveries, when they're vulnerable to a fake notification," said Louisville BBB President Charlie Mattingly.

The BBB suggests shoppers:

  • Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments
  • Don't trust emails just because they contain the company's name or logo
  • Watch for poor grammar which is a sign of an overseas scammer


Experts said it is also important to keep your guard up on social media and your mobile device as well. Crooks go where the money is, and experts say right now, smart phones are the least secure purchasing platform out there leaving online holiday shoppers at risk virtually everywhere they click.

"The tricks are trickier than they used to be, absolutely," Beran said.

Knight said the one thing most consumers don't understand is that they can't "back out" of a suspect website if something doesn't look right. The latest generation of phishing scams use what's called a "drive by download" that directly attacks your browser the moment you click on the link.

The Louisville Better Business Bureau said cyberscams aren't the only thing to watch out for this season. For a list of the BBB's "12 scams of Christmas" click here.

To friend the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter on Facebook click here. To follow on Twitter click here.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.  

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