eScan, one of the leading Anti-Virus and Content Security Solution providers, warns users of Fake discounts on internet, this festive season.
After searching online for her favorite brand for clothes online, she chanced upon an advertisement which offered great discounts for the very brand she was interested in. How could Shalini ignore such a great offer? Shalini was directed to a discount page where she was asked to sign-up to avail 30% discount. She quickly signed up and gave her credit card number to take benefit of the discount. But to her surprise, it was a fake Discount and Rewards site as later she discovered that her bank account was showing a nil balance.
This is quite a common scenario wherein online shoppers are directed to a fake website in order to steal their personal details. Access to multiple brands while sitting at home and shopping with ease is a growing trend. However, the growth in the online shopping industry has given rise to sophisticated cybercrime. Cybercriminals create various targeted attacks to trap online shopper. By taking benefit of these so-called exclusive discount offers, online shoppers fall in the trap of identity theft unknowingly.
Apart from embedding a hidden discount page where the shoppers reach before making their payment, scammers also send emails revealing amazing discount offers. Scammers, with an aim to steal personal information of the users, send emails informing them about heavy discounts on popular products. Scammers lure users into clicking the link included in the email in order to take advantage of the discount. On clicking the link, users are directed to a website where they are asked to enter their bank account details.
Often cyber-criminals create their own fake shopping website with the look and feel of a legitimate shopping website. These websites appear to offer outstanding and outlandish deals. Exclusive discounts are given on popular products such as clothing, desktop, digital camera, Smartphones, etc. As soon as the user initiates transaction with this website, his /her banking detail reaches the cybercriminals.
Fake or misleading advertisements in the form of online classifieds websites and in print classifieds are also most often used by cybercriminals for identity theft. These advertisements may include pictures and other details similar to the genuine one. To lure victims, the scammer advertises items at a low price as compared to the items advertised on the same site. When a customer shows interest in the item, the scammer may claim that they are travelling or have moved overseas and that an agent will deliver the goods following receipt of payment. Once the payment is made, the victim may receive a fake email receipt claiming to be from the website’s secure payment provider. Though, once the money is paid, the victim would not receive the goods and will not be able to contact the seller.
There is yet another way through which cyber-criminals send fake discount offers. This is done through gifts cards. Gift cards are usually endorsed through social networking websites. They claim to offer exiting deals and exclusive discounts but they are actually bogus. Unfortunately, online shoppers still do not have enough knowledge about deceptive discount offers and they continue to become victim of these fake offers by scammers.
eScan provides few tips while considering any kind of discount offer, in order to enjoy safe online shopping:
- Use trustworthy anti-virus software for your computer and keep your computers security software up-to-date.
- Research well about the website before purchasing anything. If you come across any discount offer on that site, do check its authenticity and then take benefit the offer.
- Online shoppers should always visit the official website by typing its URL or address in the Web browser address bar. Be cautious if you see a broken key or an open padlock symbol in your Internet browser.
- In case you receive emails from unknown sender; never click on the links embedded within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Often you may receive emails offering amazing discounts, but to take the benefit of discount offered, you are asked to provide your banking credentials or your card number. Be extra cautious and never provide your banking information or other details through email.
- When you are planning to use gift cards shared through a social media website, it is important to first check the authenticity of these cards and then go for it.