Criminals look to target online shoppers with early sales and supply chain problems this holiday

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Posted at 5:21 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 10:38:46-05

Cyber security experts say with these early sales and supply chain problems, criminals aren't wasting time targeting victims this holiday season.

"Whether it is because of the supply chain issues or just the scarcity that comes with some of the most popular items in any given holiday, scammers know that and they really want to take advantage of people's desire to get these products," said Alex Hamerston, a cyber security expert with TrustedSec, a security consulting company.

Hamerstone says one of the biggest things shoppers should be wary of is a sense of urgency.

"The scammers want to get you to act quickly, and what better way than if a chance to get your kid the toy that nobody has in stock," he said.

He advises shoppers to stick with the brands they know, and if you find a product for sale on a site you've never heard of, read the reviews.

Also, be cautious when you get texts or emails about an order or shipment asking you to click on links.

While retailers or delivery services can communicate with shoppers, Hamerstone says there are so many variations to this scheme. It's important to stay vigilant.

"They'll oftentimes send you a bill, or send you a link to a bill and say, 'Hey you subscribed to this thing. You owe us money. If you don't think you do, click on this link,'" he explained.

If you do buy online this holiday season, credit cards still offer better consumer protections than debit cards.

The FTC also has advice for consumers shopping online during the holiday season.

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