Online scamming, stealing tends to rise during holiday season

Posted at 12:26 PM, Nov 23, 2016
The Thanksgiving Holiday brings about the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. 
According to a recent report from the Kaspersky Lab, instances of online scamming and stealing tend to rise about 10 percent during the holiday season compared with other months.
Jim Temmer, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Wisconsin, said that's not surprising. 
"There's just more opportunity for scammers," Temmer said. "There are more people shopping, and shopping online." 
Temmer added roughly 82 percent of people who opt to do their shopping in stores still browse the internet to do research and compare prices. 
He said shoppers should be wary of using public WiFi networks, like at a coffee shop, when buying anything or accessing personal information like a bank statement or credit card account. 
"Those public WiFi networks are not secure," Temmer said. 
Temmer said that's because criminals signed on to the same network can use hacking devices to access your phone or computer. 
"It's not the stores that are going to be scamming you," Temmer said. "It would be someone else in that store." he said. 
Temmer also said holiday shoppers should beware of phishing emails or phishing websites. They're phony messages or websites designed to look legitimate. They often advertise discounted prices on hot items but are actually just a way for criminals to trick people into forking over a credit card number. 
"Retailers are going to overwhelm you with ads this season," Temmer said. " Your inbox will be full of them, scammers know that. So they'll be sending out phishing emails that look very similar to what you might get. Never send a check, or give someone a credit card number, because of a link in an email. You can always visit that store, or you can look at your bill and call the store to verify it." 
He said consumers should not purchase anything from a website at a URL that doesn't start with "https." He said the "s" stands for "secure" and indicates it's safe to use a credit card to make a purchase. 
"Do your research, Temmer said. "Plan ahead of time. Don't be taken by something too good to be true."