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Navigating Holiday Shopping Safely with a Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding Scams

Updated: Feb 15

As the holiday season ramps up, so does the risk of falling victim to cyber scams. In its 2023 Holiday Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report, Norton sheds light on the prevalent scams and provides essential tips for a secure shopping experience. Drawing insights from Consumer Affairs, this article is a valuable resource for staying informed and protected during your holiday shopping endeavors.

Understanding the Cost of Scams

Norton's survey across 13 countries reveals a chilling reality—holiday shopping scams can cost consumers an average of $1,500. With over 55% of shoppers worried about falling prey to scams and a notable drop in confidence in online safety, it's crucial to stay vigilant.

Digital Perils as the Primary Playground for Scammers

The digital realm, mainly social media platforms, emerges as the favored ground for cybercriminals during the holiday season. Norton underscores the various avenues scammers exploit, including third-party websites, emails, texts, and calls.

12 Scams to Watch Out For

Norton identifies the top 12 scams demanding consumer attention during holiday shopping:

  • Online Shopping Scams: Deceptive websites offering enticing deals, aiming to extract personal and financial information.

  • Phishing Scams: Impersonation of popular charities or retailers in emails or texts, leading to identity theft through fake links.

  • Fake Delivery Scams: False notifications from trusted delivery services (Amazon, UPS, FedEx, USPS) seeking payment details.

  • Gift Card Scams: Scammers manipulate victims into buying gift cards to resolve supposed urgent financial matters.

  • Overpayment Scams: Sellers online are tricked into accepting excess payment, only to realize the initial check bounces.

  • Charity Scams: Cybercriminals create fake charities to dupe individuals into donating.

  • Travel-Related Booking Scams: Fraudulent sites advertising appealing travel deals, aiming to steal financial information.

  • Investment Scams: Fake websites promoting lucrative investment opportunities, leading to personal and financial data theft.

  • Fake Gift Exchanges: Virtual 'Secret Santa' scams where consumers send gifts but receive nothing, providing personal information in the process.

  • Temporary Holiday Job Scams: Suspicious job postings aiming to extract personal information, including bank details.

  • Imposter Scams: Cybercriminals impersonate individuals in consumers' lives to extract money or gift cards.

  • New Pet Scams: Scammers create fictitious pet listings, deceiving consumers into sending money for non-existent pets.

Norton’s Tip for Staying Safe

To fortify against scams, Norton offers actionable tips:

  • Never buy from unrecognized retailers.

  • Verify website security with 'https.'

  • Exercise caution if a deal seems too good to be true.

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for online shopping safety.

  • Strengthen passwords to prevent hacking.

  • Employ device protection software for added security.

As you embark on your holiday shopping journey, armed with this knowledge, ensure a secure and joyful experience. Stay informed, stay safe. Safeguard your digital presence and enjoy a worry-free holiday season. Happy and secure shopping!

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