Chargebacks911 Founder Monica Eaton warns consumers to take necessary precautions to avoid scams during record-breaking holiday shopping season
TAMPA, Fla. – Dec. 5, 2022: As consumers spent a record-breaking $35.4 billion online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, Chargebacks911 Founder Monica Eaton, whose global company specializes in chargeback remediation solutions for some of the world’s largest eCommerce businesses and financial institutions, is cautioning consumers to be aware of increased fraudulent activity, as well as sharing best practices for protecting sensitive information online and avoiding potential scams.
This year, online spending on Black Friday reached $9.12 billion, according to a report from Adobe Analytics, representing a 2.3 percent increase from the previous year. Additionally, preliminary data from the report also shows consumers spent approximately $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, a 5.3 percent rise from 2021.
With shoppers spending more online this year than ever before, Eaton warns that scammers will look to take advantage of popular products by soliciting consumers with fake advertisements, messages and even fake websites.
“These criminals are getting very sophisticated and are developing new ways to defraud consumers every day,” said Eaton. “Online scammers have become capable of designing ads, web pages and messaging to look exactly like they are coming from well-known businesses and will look to target shoppers pursuing the most popular products and services.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2021 Internet Crime Report shows $6.9 billion was lost to fraud by unsuspecting consumers last year, a $2.7 billion increase compared to 2020. As online shopping increases, experts expect a correlated rise in online scams and fraudulent activity.
According to Eaton, some of the more popular scams and fraudulent activity targeting holiday shoppers include:
- Triangulation fraud. This method involves a scammer creating a fake website to look like an existing, well-known business — such as an Amazon Marketplace page. The consumer obliviously buys a product from the fake site and the scammer fulfills the order by purchasing the product through the legitimate vendor’s site. Once the consumer receives their item, they are less aware fraud has been committed, leaving more time for the scammer to make unauthorized purchases.
- Phishing. This occurs when scammers attempt to extract sensitive information from a consumer, such as sending an email claiming there is a login or payment problem with an account, prompting you to provide your login information. Once a scammer has access to your account, they can make unauthorized purchases or even change the password and lock you out of your account.
- Gift card fraud. Gift card fraud involves online criminals portraying trustworthy individuals — such as family members, employers and even the Internal Revenue Service — to attempt to get unsuspecting people to purchase gift cards and send the codes to awaiting scammers, often costing victims thousands of dollars they are unable to get back.
To help combat the recent increase in fraudulent activity, Eaton recommends practicing the following shopping safety measures:
- Confirm the seller is legitimate. Do your research on companies that you are purchasing from for the first time and ensure the URL you are purchasing from is legitimate and secure. Some fake websites will have URLs that are very similar to legitimate businesses, but may have one letter changed, added or missing. Make sure the URL has “https” in the web address, which lets the consumer know that site’s server is secure.
- Be careful how you pay. Never wire money to a company or seller, or pay for an item using pre-paid gift cards. Use a credit card when shopping and be sure to continuously monitor your purchasing statements for suspicious activity. If you see a fraudulent transaction, contact your credit card company immediately.
- Track your shipped item. Make sure you are aware of the shipping process before purchasing an item. Make sure every item purchased online has a tracking number so you can monitor the shipping and delivery schedule. Legitimate websites will typically provide these tracking numbers after the transaction.
- Be wary of phishing attempts. Avoid clicking any suspicious links or attachments in emails, on websites or social media. Some links will prompt you to give up sensitive information or may contain malware. Never update your account password or information through an email link. Always be sure to update any account information through the actual website itself.
- Call your credit card company. In the event you suspect any fraudulent activity, contact your credit card company immediately.
To learn more about Chargebacks911, visit Chargebacks911.com.
Founded in 2011, Chargebacks911® drives profitability for online merchants by decreasing payment disputes and recovering revenue lost to chargeback fraud. Through a proprietary suite of software and service offerings, the company delivers transparent, end-to-end chargeback management solutions backed by the industry’s only performance-based ROI guarantee.