Category Archives: Scam Alert

Beware of online shopping scams this holiday season

It’s November which means the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. If you’re someone who prefers to avoid the crowds by purchasing your gifts online, be sure to keep an eye out for potential scams this year. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are now using advertisements on social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, to fool shoppers.

Recently, a series of social media advertisements was used to trick shoppers into purchasing a hair straightener called Trendy Iron. The customers paid for the product, but it never arrived.

On the surface, everything seemed legitimate. The advertisements were high quality and featured convincing photos of women styling their hair with the Trendy Iron, claiming it gave them amazing results. After customers ordered the product, they received an email confirming the purchase and guaranteeing a shipping date. However, that date would come and go, and the product would never arrive. Neither the Trendy Iron website nor the confirmation email provided contact information for the company, making it impossible to get a refund on the purchase.

This is just one example of a shopping scam, but it’s not the only one. Other common false advertisements include clothes, cosmetics, supplements, and even pets. Here are a few tips you can you use to protect yourself while shopping online this holiday season: 

3 ways to protect yourself from an online shopping scam:

  1. Confirm that the contact information is real. In many shopping scam cases, the contact information provided in the confirmation email isn’t active. Before you purchase something from an online vendor, check that the seller has a working phone number and a valid address in case you need to contact them in the future about problems with your order.
  2. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Be cautious if the item is selling for significantly lower than the prices you’ve seen elsewhere. Scammers often use discounts and deals to make their phony products more tempting for shoppers.
  3. Do your research. Even if the advertisement looks legitimate, be cautious. Verify that the site is secure before making an online purchase. One of the ways you can do this by looking for HTTPS in the domain name found in the search bar.

If you’ve been targeted by a shopping scam, you can help others avoid being scammed by reporting the incident to the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau. For more information about common scams in 2017, check out the BBB’s Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report.

 

Guest Blogger: August Braun, a Communications Intern and a journalism student at UW-Madison.

FTC alert: Social Security numbers can’t be suspended

FTC alert: Social Security numbers can’t be suspended

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a new variation on government imposter scam—this time claiming your Social Security Number has been suspended. A caller claims to be protecting you from a scam, all the while actually trying to lure you into one. The scam A professional-sounding caller informs you that your Social Security… Continue Reading

Can you spot the phish?

Scammers love a good phishing email scheme because they’re so efficient. With the creation of one real-looking message, they can trick hundreds, if not thousands of people into revealing personal information. From banking and credit card information, to usernames and passwords, they do their best to create an email lure to reel you in. Each… Continue Reading

Data breaches can lead to credential stuffing

Data breaches can lead to credential stuffing

Data breaches aren’t going away—in fact, data indicates that they’re happening more often than ever before. A 2018 report says that 75% of U.S. retailers have experienced a breach, with 50% experiencing the issue in the last year. Check out this graphic to see the world’s biggest data breaches. Odds are good you will, or have been,… Continue Reading

Malicious emails and attacks on the rise

Malicious emails and attacks on the rise

Keep a watchful eye on your email inbox. Our internal security team has been noticing an uptick in malicious email campaigns sent to inboxes. These emails are phishing attempts. They’re designed to trick you into responding with action or information. Some might contain viruses or other malicious software, while others may steal your usernames, passwords, or… Continue Reading

BendBroadband modem not affected by Russian malware

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is asking more than 500,000 Americans to reboot their routers. This is because hackers infected consumer-level routers used in homes and small offices with malware. The incident is believed to be a Russian military-related hacking and has affected half a million routers and storage devices in 54 countries, including… Continue Reading