3 Steps to Avoiding Phishing Scams on Cyber Monday

November 9, 2017

9:20 am

Two out of every five U.S. consumers have fallen victim to an online phishing attack. Does that sound high? It’s probably because 91 percent of them are aware that fake websites or emails can be designed to trick them into thinking they’re the real thing.

In other words, you probably think you’re safe from sharing your online info with a bad actor. Now, thanks to a new report, we have a few extra tips to ensure you really are.

Know the Domains to Skip

Cyber threat intelligence company DomainTools ran the report. One of the biggest takeaways they found? The list of fake domains that phishers have used to imitate the most popular retailer sites. Don’t fall for anyone of these:

Amazon

Amazonsecure-shop[.]com

Amazonshop[.]gq

Amazoncom[.]me

Arnazn[.]com

Amazonn[.]pw

Target

Targethome[.]today

targetshop[.]today

Taget[.]today

target-officialsite[.]com

Walmart

Walmaart[.]co

Walmartpdt[.]com

Walmart-outlet[.]ga

Walmart-shop[.]com

Walmartkt[.]com

None of the above are legit domains, and none should be clicked.

Be Paranoid

You should, according to the report, “assume links are dangerous until decided otherwise.” This doesn’t mean you should live in fear, of course, but being overly cautious of phishing won’t hurt you here. Try heading directly to a company website rather than clicking through from emails or social media.

It may seem as though you only have a single day to nab as many deals as you can, but the post-Thanksgiving sales are lasting longer and longer. As we learned at the CTA 2017 Holiday Tech Trends talk last month, “it’s more about Cyber November than just that one shopping day.”

Check for Typos

If you must use a link, comb through it for typos. Misspellings on a promotional email are a sign of unprofessional work that you’re unlikely to see from a major retailer, and misspelled URLs or email addresses are a clear sign that you’re being phished. Here’s the list of things to look for that the report suggests:

  • extra added letters in the domain, such as Yahooo[.]com
  • ‘rn’ disguised as an ‘m’, such as modem[.]com versus modern[.]com
  • 1’s disguised as l’s, such as wa1mart[.]com
  • added affixes, such as starbucks[.]com-latte[.]us

The best tip of all? Stay vigilant across your entire holiday shopping spree. These tips are easy to listen to, but hard to constantly remember.

And of course, feel free to click through to the TechCo shop for the best tech deals around. I’m not phishing you, I swear.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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