As the world gets ready for yet another Black Friday and Cyber Monday season, the retailers need to be very cautious about their cybersecurity. Just as average customers are in the acumens of rogue actors and at risk from fraud, so too are businesses.
Tom Callahan, Director of Operations, MDR, at PDI Software, issued a notice saying:
Cybersecurity is equally as big a risk to shopping over the Holiday period as the supply issues that are making the headlines. The biggest challenge is in the form of ransomware and its variants. This is to the extent that ransomware remains the fastest-growing category of cybercrime, occurring globally every 11 seconds.
While speaking to Digital Journal, he also said that while there are many reasons behind delays in delivery or retail, one of those reasons can’t be overlooked on any account.
The reasons as to why these vulnerabilities are spreading like a plague from one business to another can only be revealed by the increased globalization.
Callahan states about this puzzle:
Because the retail supply chain is increasingly digital and interconnected, the entire chain can quickly be impacted by a single cyberattack on one company along the chain. For instance, we’re now seeing what used to be simply ransomware attacks turning into extortionware attacks.
Emosoft – a New Zealand-based anti-virus distribution company renowned for decrypting various ransomware attacks for restoring data, claims that extorionware is the largest stage in the evolution of ransomware.
According to them, scammers are using ransomware to steal large chunks of vital information, which can, later on, be used as leverage during various extortion attempts.
Ross Martin, who is head of the digital safety, Barclays Bank, said in a statement:
Whilst the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a great opportunity for consumers to bag a bargain, unfortunately, they create the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to target shoppers and it’s important to remember that scammers often do target victims more than once and use details gathered in the first scam to strike again.
He also encourages them not to ignore their concerns and immediately hang up or report scam calls at 159 – the fraud hotline.
FBI Little Rock Division has issued a warning to the residents of Arkansans about scammers fancying stealing their information or money during the holiday season. According to the FBI, shoppers should watch aggressive and innovative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information.
In 2020, Arkansans lost over $16,140,000 from various criminal scams, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Let’s look at a few scams the FBI has warned to stay vigilant against:
- Charity Scams: These scams are conducted during the holiday season as many individuals donate a handsome amount of money to the less fortunate. Scammers use various methods such as vishing, phishing, email campaigns, and fake websites to lure individuals into donating to charity. Then steal those donations while those in need never see a single penny.
- Online Shopping Scams: Stay as far away as possible from unknown websites offering discounts that look very unrealistic. Scammers usually target the Black Friday and Cyber Monday audience by selling “One-Day Only” promotions from popular brands. If you are purchasing from a company for the first time, then make sure to do your research on their business and read the online reviews left by the other customers.
- Payment Red Flags: Be careful of businesses that require payment solely through gift cards. Scammers can sometimes receive illegal payments quickly by asking the customers to use wire transfers. By using a credit card, you can obtain an additional layer of security against fraudulent scams.
Here are a few additional steps that can help you stay safe from various scams during this shopping season:
- Make sure to use strong passwords for your financial accounts. It is also recommended to use different passwords for different accounts.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly.
- Never hand out your personal information such as your birthday, social security number, or home address to strangers.
- Be skeptical of promotions and giveaways which request your personal information.
- Shoppers who suspect they’ve been victimized should immediately contact their financial institution, then call their local law enforcement agency or FBI Little Rock at (501) 221-9100.
Victims of holiday scams are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at www.ic3.gov.