By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief, ReHack.com
The holiday shopping rush is in full swing. People are flocking to online retailers to get the best deals and gifts they can find. E-commerce is bigger than ever, especially when you consider an increased focus on it due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. There is a downside, though: an increase in the number of scams.
Phishing scams aren’t new, but they are constantly evolving. The people who send them out adapt to new cybersecurity measures and work around them. Even the most secure filters can sometimes let phishing emails through the cracks.
Now, as holiday shopping reaches its peak, these cybercriminals are targeting consumers online.
Phishing Scams on the Rise
Phishing scams come across as regular emails. They look official, as if a company has sent it directly to the customer. However, little details may be off — like a lack of context, typos, or an incorrect email address. These emails will offer a link to click that either asks for personal information, advertises shipment tracking, or states there is a delivery issue.
Employees and customers alike can easily play into these scams. If they click the link or provide private information like names, accounts, passwords or credit card information, cybercriminals can hack accounts and steal money. They can also sell this information on the dark web.
With holiday shopping on the rise, so are these kinds of scams. Throughout the pandemic, people have been relying on tech and the internet more than ever. That dependency alone saw a drastic, 800% surge in cybercrime activity by August 2020. That number is now going up once again.
These phishing scams tend to target shipping. They’ll ask consumers to clarify information or address various issues, which will ultimately lead to theft of some sort. Some links bring consumers to fake company versions of delivery pages. These websites can impersonate smaller, local businesses, and large corporations.
On top of phishing scams, criminals have also been targeting trucking companies and fleets. Trucks contain valuable items, especially during the holidays, as people order expensive tech and gadgets. Interfering with shipments could mean the loss of profits and customers’ orders, prompting many companies to rely on transportation security systems and technology.
Trucking is just one example of how phishing scams can also target employees. If they fall into a scheme, they could end up giving away private company information, leading to significant losses or theft. Taking action is a must, especially during the holidays.
Action for Prevention
To get a handle on phishing scams this season, companies and consumers must know the signs. Then, they can take the right actions to avoid falling victim to cybercriminals’ activity.
The first step is to examine the email. If it looks suspicious or offers something that seems too good to be true — like get-rich-quick schemes — then it’s likely a phishing scam. Look at the sender’s address. Sometimes it can be a letter off from the email being mimicked. Employees can start a separate email with the correct address to verify or question the suspicious one.
Consumers should not click on any links or provide any information. Instead, they should go directly to the brand’s official website if they have any questions or want to track their packages. That way, they can verify the shipment status and receive any other information they may need.
Proactive measures are what will ultimately keep shipping and shopping operations safe during this holiday season. Consumers, trucking companies and retailers alike must recognize the signs to keep their information safe.
A Secure Holiday Season
Coronavirus lockdowns and changes have made online shopping the new norm. Though phishing scams have ramped up, consumers and retailers can stay vigilant to get ahead of any suspicious activity. That way, everyone can have a profitable, secure 2020 holiday.
Devin Partida is an industrial tech writer and the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com, a digital magazine for all things technology, big data, cryptocurrency and more. To read more from Devin, please check out the site.