If you’re shopping online for the holidays, you will receive order confirmation emails. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have found yet another way to take advantage of generous gift givers who purchase presents online.
What Order Confirmation?!
In a new scam, the bad guys of the cyber world impersonate Amazon and send fake order confirmation emails. Their goal? To obtain your credit card information. The “order confirmation” will appear to come from Amazon (other online retailers may be next!). It will include details about the purchase and a shipping address you recognize – making it more believable.
Let’s be honest, this time of year, you may lose track of everything you’ve ordered online. These scammers are helpful and they include a “view or manage order” button for your convenience. If you click the button, you’ll be taken to Amazon’s actual website. But… you won’t find any information on the order in question. How does that do the hacker any good? It’s not always easy to find contact information on large retailer sites, so calling the number provided in an email is a time saver. They’re counting on that. When you call the phone number in the email, they’ll ask for your credit card details to access the order and cancel it. You never made the purchase, so there’s nothing to cancel, but now you’ve given them just what they wanted – a way to buy all their holiday gifts without spending a penny of their own money!
Stay Scam Free
While cybercriminals are creative and their tactics constantly evolve, there are tried and true ways to protect yourself. To stay safe from online scams, including fake order confirmation emails, remember these three things:
- Only use contact information provided by a reputable source. Emails are easy to fake – if you need customer service, go directly to a vendor’s website (using a URL you know to be valid) for an official phone number or email address.
- Never click links in emails you aren’t expecting. In the shopping scam described above, that link will take you to a good site – but the outcome will be anything but good. In other cases, clicking a link may direct you to a site that requests your personal information, or it may download malicious software on your device.
- Don’t share sensitive information over the phone. Unless you initiated a call to an official phone number for a reputable business, never provide your credit card information. Identity theft is always a concern, so it is best to err on the side of caution when it comes to personal details.
Shopping online provides access to a world of options. It can certainly be more convenient than going to a brick-and-mortar store. That convenience comes with additional risk and responsibility. Your information is yours to know and yours to protect. Please be safe online this holiday season!