LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a record number of online shoppers, fueled by more people opting to stay home during the pandemic.
But, as retailers are cashing in, so are scammers.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Trapped And At Least 4 Injured In Pacoima Traffic Collision, First Responders On Scene
A new study by Check Point, a cyber security company, found an 80% increase in malicious phishing campaigns aimed at online shoppers, compared to last year.
“Phishing is the process of a bad actor tricking you, usually by way of an email, into clicking on something and ultimately giving up your credentials — username and password — all for the purpose of them profiting from it,” said Brian Linder, a threat prevention expert at Check Point.
He said scammers are trying new and creative ways to impersonate reputable companies and get shoppers’ information.
“(They’re) sending you an email, appearing to be a tracking of a package you were waiting or hoping for, tricking you into clicking on a link in that email which is bogus, takes you to a bogus website and now we get you to put your credentials in and we steal them,” he said.
Robyn Rosenberg said she considers herself a savvy shopper. However, she said she always takes extra care to avoid scammers.
“I would make sure that you read everything,” said Robyn Rosenberg. “Make sure that you’re paying attention to what website you’re going on and make sure it’s secured.”
Check Point found that phishing emails have increased 13 times in the past six weeks.
Linder said there are several ways to avoid phishing scams:READ MORE: Pursuit Suspect Attacks CHP Officers In Simi Valley
— Never use the same username and passwords across different websites
— Always be suspicious of password reset emails
— Verify the website address
— Look for grammar and spelling errors
Shoppers should also look out for legal but costly mistakes, like signing up for store credit cards without knowing the risk, according to LendingTree’s Matt Schulz.
“The interest rates are sky high,” he said. “All credit card interest rates are high but store credit cards are even higher.”
The average APR for these cards is about 24%. Despite this, LendingTree found a sizable uptick in the number of people interested in store credit cards this holiday season.
“Our survey found that about 44% of Americans are at least somewhat likely to apply for a store credit card this holiday season, and that’s up about 10% from last year and even more from the year before,” Schulz said.MORE NEWS: Funeral Service Held In Covina Hills For Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, Among The 13 Killed In Aug. 26 Bombing Attack In Kabul
LendingTree also found that 56% of those with a store credit card regretted opening it, and about half went into debt because of it.