G DATA CyberDefense gives consumers tips for safe online gift shopping
Many internet users buy Christmas presents online. This is not only the busiest time for retailers, cybercriminals are also particularly active now, hoping to cash in with fake shops and other scams. This is fueled by promotional days such as Black Friday and discount campaigns, which are particularly important for consumers this year. High energy costs and inflation mean that shoppers have to pay extra close attention to price. This makes them even more susceptible to online fraud in the pre-Christmas rush. G DATA CyberDefense advises caution and gives tips for safe Christmas gift shopping on the Internet.
There are only a few weeks left until Christmas and the wish lists are long and extensive. However, inflation and the high cost of gas, electricity and petrol are causing many consumers' gift budgets to shrink, making the search for good deals on toys, electronics and the like even more important than in previous years. This causes additional stress. Although online shoppers benefit from discounts and promotions such as Black Week or Black Friday, cybercriminals are also increasingly active now to harm consumers.
"Every year, the Christmas season brings cybercriminals high profits. They use fake shops and fake offers to scam money or personal information, such as access data to online payment service providers", explains Tim Berghoff, Security Evangelist at G DATA CyberDefense. "Consumers should remain calm during the Christmas rush and take the time to carefully check offers and providers. If they also rely on an active security solution when shopping and keep their smartphones and computers up to date, nothing will stand in the way of buying and gifting presents."
The tills never ring sweeter than in the run-up to Christmas
For retailers, it is the most important time of the year, with high sales and strong profits. That's why cyber criminals rely on these two scams in particular to boost their criminal Christmas business:
- Fake shops: With fake online shops, the fraudsters try to obtain purchase amounts for non-existent or low-quality goods. They advertise offers for normally expensive perfumes, designer goods or hard-to-get electronic items, for example game consoles - all at a low price. Often, only the payment method "prepayment" is offered for an order, so that the purchase price is paid but the goods are never delivered in the end or a victim only receives substandard products. Depending on the objective, the perpetrators may also want to obtain access data for online payment service providers or other services. Fake shops are often not recognisable at first glance. Only a look at the imprint, the terms of delivery or the delivery conditions offered show that the online shop is not trustworthy. Therefore, it is worthwhile for consumers to check carefully. If no contact information is to be found or there are no details on how return are handled, then this is a red flag.
- Fake offers: Fraudsters rely on very cheap offers for sought-after items. These are offered for sale via sales platforms. In the run-up to Christmas, consumers also receive a flood of spam mails in which the dubious offers can also be found. The articles are often offered at well below the usual market price. The offer seems "too good to be true". Consumers should check very cheap items critically and, if in doubt, refrain from buying.
Security expert Tim Berghoff advises consumers to look carefully at bargains. He also advises using a comprehensive security solution and recommends always keeping the operating system and all applications on mobile devices and computers up to date with the help of updates.