Tags: mothers day | cyberscam | phishing | cybersecurity | fake coupons

Mother's Day Cyberscams to Watch Out For

Image: Mother's Day Cyberscams to Watch Out For
People buy flowers for Mother's Day on May 29, 2016 in Godewaersvelde, northern France. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 11 May 2017 11:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Mother's Day is one of the biggest shopping holidays in the U.S. and everyone is looking to buy gifts for mom. Scammers and hackers are banking on this and looking for ways to steal your identity and hard earned cash.

Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout and author of "Swiped," has multiple scams that consumers need to avoid while shopping:

1. Greeting Cards

These days, paper greeting cards cost anywhere from 50 cents to $8, but the average cost of a festive snail-mail missive is between $4 and $5. This explains the huge uptick in e-cards’ popularity. They are more environmentally friendly and cost nothing. Sounds like a win-win, right? Not exactly. This method of transmitting heartfelt sentiment — as with all new technology — has the potential to create a massive headache for the mothers in your life who have something coming to them.

Specifically, the problem with e-cards is that they open the door to fake e-cards. Most people on social media accept friend requests from strangers, and once those strangers are welcomed into the fold, they are allowed as friends to see friends of their new friends. They can figure out who among your relatives has kids, and send them a fake e-card in your name — one carrying malware that can steal the recipient’s identity or wreak havoc in cyberspace. One click can install a keystroke logger that turns any electronic device into a transmitter of login information (endangering every account, especially finances), rope devices into botnets that distribute spam or launch distributed denial of service attacks on major websites.

Remember the rule: Never trust, always verify. Ask the person who sent you the e-card, in a separate email, if they sent a card. Don’t click through without a response, because there is no way to know the URL and determine if it’s legitimate.

If you’ve fallen for this, be sure to check your credit for signs of mischief. You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

2. Fake Flowers

Nothing brightens a mother’s day more than a beautiful bouquet. If you are ordering online, make sure the URL matches the shop’s website if you clicked through from anything other than your own search results. Call the shop to make sure they are the real deal.

Another favorite ruse dating back some time: Selling fake coupons from stores that promise monthly or weekly flower delivery. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is. Either work with a florist you know or find one near the recipient and conduct business with them directly.

3. More Fake Coupons

Fake coupons for saving are making the rounds again this year, most recently on Facebook, where people have been tempted by a $50 coupon redeemable at Lowe’s Home Improvement. If you click through, you’ll be asked to take a survey that solicits personal information and to post the offer on your Facebook timeline. Needless to say, the coupon is worthless.

Likewise, you should avoid a similar $75 coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond also making the rounds on social media. It’s a classic phishing scheme. When victims click on the link, they land on a fraudulent site that looks like the real thing, where consumers are prompted to enter sensitive personal information as well as their credit card number.

Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. A former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Mr. Levin is Chairman and founder of CyberScout and co-founder of Credit.com. Adam Levin is the author of Amazon Best Seller "Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves." He is the security and credit expert for ABCNews.com and writes a weekly column for The Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, The Hill, and Newsmax. Mr. Levin is a go-to expert appearing on many national TV programs including "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "MSNBC Live," "Fox and Friends," "NBC Nightly News," "ABC World News Tonight," "Cavuto Coast to Coast," "Bloomberg Surveillance," as well as national radio throughout the country. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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Mother's Day is one of the biggest shopping holidays in the U.S. and everyone is looking to buy gifts for mom. Scammers and hackers are banking on this and looking for ways to steal your identity and hard earned cash.
mothers day, cyberscam, phishing, cybersecurity, fake coupons
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2017-01-11
Thursday, 11 May 2017 11:01 AM
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