Experts warn of rise in phishing scams ahead of holiday shopping

Posted at 5:46 AM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 13:21:29-05

(WXYZ) — The deals for holiday shoppers started back in October, but we wanted to remind you to make sure you don't take the bait of online scammers.

I've already been inundated with phishing emails, and the Better Business Bureau expects more bad actors to pop up.

In the last three weeks, I've received nine emails from scammers wanting me to click a link about a purchase I have not made.

People we talked with are seeing a lot of those same kind of solicitations, too.

"I think one step further is I get the text messages, the alert, like, ‘Hey your account has been compromised. Click this link,'" Todd Fairbairn of Royal Oak said.

But, clicking that link could infect your device with malware.

Consumer experts warn many of these phishing scams also dangle a deal in front of you, maybe telling you you'll get a large discount.

Melanie Duquesnel, the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, said one of the most common shopping scams is the impersonated website.

“How are people stumbling upon these fake websites?” I asked.

"Well, I hate to say it, but we're all rushed, and we're all a little lazy," she said.

Sometimes, the URL may be off by just a few letters.

"It may say something like or Walmart.UK or something like that," Duquesnel explained.

Here are some of the BBB's tips for safe online shopping.

  • Don't click on unfamiliar links in emails or texts
  • Check the retailer's security settings for an "s" after "http" for "secure" and a lock icon on the shopping cart page
  • Shop with a credit card. It's easier to dispute the charges if you've been scammed
  • Keep documentation of your order until you are satisfied with your purchase
  • Clean your machine by installing a firewall, anti-virus or anti-spyware software, and make sure you check for updates.

Remember, if you're on social media a lot, be mindful of flashy ads trying to get you to look into a product. Once you click that link, you may be taken to one of those fake sites.

It's easy for scammers to copy pictures from real websites in order to dress their site up to fool you.

It's the same with company logos you'll see in texts or emails. If you hover over the links or email addresses and then see a bunch of non-sensical letters or numbers come up as the sender or a website, it's a scam (it's often easier to do this check on a laptop versus your phone). Delete the questionable message.