It’s only January, so we don’t have the correct fraud profile of 2019’s festive shopping spree —just yet. But we know (from a reliable report) that fraudsters made major preparations to rip off customers.
A Nov 2018 report by Check Point found a worrying surging number of phishing schemes linked to fake online retail websites. Then last year, around November, the same report found a 233% increase in phishing schemes luring shoppers to fraudulent eCommerce stores. Check Point found that by mid-November, even before Black Friday & Cyber Monday, the number of phishing links or URLs had grown more than two-fold, compared to last year’s result.
How does the Scam work?
First, scammers prepare a fake website impersonating a legit retail site with almost everything that a normal website user would look for. Next, they send legit-looking marketing e-mails with lucrative deals, discounts or offers to lure shoppers
An enticed shopper follows the link and unknowingly lands on the fake website. Everything looks real, and soon, the buyer leaves their card credentials or makes a payment.
Checkpoint Exposes a Scam on Ray-Ban Shades
A case in point is last year’s November scam, revealed by Check Point, where cybercriminals attempted to attract buyers to a fake retail store that sells sunglasses.
Here’s how fraudsters arranged their scheme;
On Nov. 6, 2019, phishers created a photocopy Ray-Ban Sunglasses under the domain xwrbs[.]com. The next day, Check Point counted phishing marketing e-mails targeting THOUSANDS of users promising an 80 percent discount on shades for Black Friday?
Clicking the strange-looking link landed a user to a legit-looking Ray-Ban website with products, price quotes, and checkout pages. But instead of usual credit card payment as with many eCommerce sites, users were requested to make payment via PayPal. But many unsuspicious shoppers could have ignored that for an 80 percent off.
What followed remains a mystery to Check Point and to us; whether the shoppers were ripped off of their finances or offered a pair of fake glasses.
Phishing campaigns will continue even during low sprees. Customers must be cautious about the marketing e-mails they receive. Follow these tips; (1) If the discount is too steep, think twice, (2) watch out for fake legit-looking sites, and (3) do not follow links received in e-mails, go to your browser and search for the official website to compare offers.
Author Bio: Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter, and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest-rated Chargeback insurance provider in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.