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How the Grinch Stole Your Data: With online shopping exploding amid the holidays and the pandemic, scammers are looking to cash in

November 2020 by Check Point

Consumers are already spending big this holiday season, particularly online.

With Black Friday right around the corner and the COVID-19 pandemic keeping shoppers online, consumers spent nearly $22 billion while online shopping between Nov. 1 and Nov. 10, according to Check Point Security Software.

But along with that increase in online shopping, Check Point also says it has seen a massive uptick in scammers looking to take advantage.

In the last month alone, the company says malicious shopping emails have jumped from 1 in every 11,000 to one in every 1,000.

"They’re using some of those again less sensational but very frequent terms like ’cheap’ and ’sale’ and ’percentage off’ and ’special offers’ to attract folks to click on some of these unsolicited emails," Mark Ostrowski of Check Point Software said.

Scammers are using convincing lookalike emails to conduct phishing campaigns in the U.S. and abroad. One malicious email mimicked an ad for a Pandora jewelry that looked legitimate - outside of a misspelling of "Pandora."

Ostrowski says shoppers should pay attention to grammar and spelling mistakes in marketing emails - they could be a red flag for scams. He also recommends mousing over hyperlinks before clicking on them to double-check where they’re sending you.

Kevin Campbell, CEO of Syniti: "With the upcoming holiday shopping season, the bad guys/girls are working hard to get your personal data – so lets remember the fundamentals – 1) have complex password 2) use two factor authentication on all banking apps 3) don’t click on links to website proactively go to website and 4) IRS or Social Security will never call you so don’t fall for those scams. Protect your data by following these fundamentals."

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