Online Holiday Shopping? Watch Out for Email Hackers

It’s the midst of the holiday season, which means it’s time to get that last minute online shopping done.

With the biting cold temperatures, a lot of shoppers may choose to get most of their holiday shopping done online.

Unfortunately, this is prime time for hackers to be out on the loose.

“If you’re not expecting a document from somebody, you should probably avoid trying to open something like that,” said CEO of Secure Tunnell VPN, Ben Holsen.

Experts say sometimes during the rush of holiday shopping, we forget about our online common sense.

“We tend to go to our search engine and type in something like ‘best deals’ or ‘greatest value’ and those will almost 100% of the time send you to websites that are not legitimate…companies that might not come through for you,” said Better Business Outreach Coordinator, Heather Johnson.

Con artists like to use fake shipping services such as Fed Ex and UPS to trick people into thinking there has been an issue with their delivery.

Opening these emails could cause all kinds of problems, from those that cause pop-ups to stealing your information and flooding your hard drive with viruses.

“And so they get an email like ‘this is your tracking number’,” said Ben. “That’s not actually from UPS and they’ll be opening documents that could be a virus.”

UPS even sent out an alert to warn customers of what a fake shipping email looks like so online shoppers know what to look for.

“If you’re not expecting an email, especially one with an attachment, you can probably disregard it,” said Ben.

“Unfortunately, scammers are getting really smart,” added Heather. “So sometimes the ‘x the close box’ will be that link.”

Experts say this is something they see way too often.

They say do your research, keep an eye out and avoid getting scammed this holiday season.

The Better Business Bureau encourages people to create a secondary email like AOL or Hotmail when doing online shopping.

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