How to identify a fake shopping website

As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, many people will forego traditional shopping malls and search for loved ones’ gifts online. With so many options and deals, it’s easier to do all holiday shopping from the comfort of one’s own home. This month, our cybersecurity post from the SANS Institute offers tips to flag fake online stores this holiday season.

In addition to protecting devices and keeping an eye on fraudulent credit card activity while shopping online, it’s important to know the signs of fake online stores and carefully select online websites from which you purchase items. Here are a few tips to stay safe:

  • Look for warnings signs; criminals may replicate the look of online retailers by using the names of well-known stores. They may boast having the best deal available, but it may not be a legitimate offer.
  • Use websites you already know and trust, or verify that new websites have a legitimate mailing address, phone number and sales support.
  • Look for poor spelling and grammar, this may indicate that a website is a scam.
  • Check domain names and URLs of websites to make sure there aren’t minor inconsistencies.
  • Make sure the website is encrypted before purchase, most browsers will have a lock, and/or HTTPS in the URL.

While shopping online this holiday season, keep this checklist handy as you check those gifts off your list! Read the full newsletter with safety shopping tips here:

Nathan Boxx, Bradley Newman, Jason Seltzer

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