Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Cyber Security experts warn of scams ahead of holiday shopping season

SEATTLE — Every year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the season of sales for the holiday season. Unfortunately, it also kicks off an uptick for online security threats. If you choose to shop online, security experts are warning of new trends.

First they say, you need to be aware of fake apps. Especially those who mimic ones made by legit retailers.

“You might download a specific app to buy directly from a them. But bad guys are launching fake apps that are really scam apps. So be careful where you get your retail apps from,” said Corey Nachreiner of WatchGuard Technologies.

He said there are red flags to look for when downloading apps.

“Look for spelling mistakes. Look for reviews. If you go on Google or Apple, users will review them. Don’t get anything that’s one-star for sure,” he said.

And you know the phrase, ‘it’s too good to be true.’ Cyber criminals know that too. And Nachreiner said they try to exploit that anyway by sending you bait email.

“Look at the link. If you`re picking a detail at xyz.com, make sure that when you click a link in the email, that it really goes to that domain and not some weird place. I’d even encourage you to be careful, rather than click a link to an email, I’d visit the site directly,” said Nachreiner.

And then while you’re waiting for your package to arrive, experts said you need to watch out for a specific phishing email that contains a document. It even looks like it’s from legitimate shippers like UPS or Fed-Ex.

“Do know that the real Fed-Ex and UPS will sometimes send an email, they’re not going to put a document in the email for tracking, So as you’re waiting for things, go to the online retailer yourself and follow that tracking link,” he said.

And with smart devices becoming more interconnected, Nachreiner said it’s important to be aware that’s also a hot spot for hackers as well.

“If you buy a device, maybe it’s for your home computer, change its default password. A lot of the devices have basic default passwords. If you don`t change it, that’s one of the first ways you`re hacked,”  he said.

Lastly, Nachreiner said that you should always use a credit card instead of a debit card that way it’s easier to track and there’s no direct connection to your bank account.

Or even better he suggests using Paypal, Google wallet or Apple wallet as an extra layer of protection.