A new survey from Norton has revealed that last year, some UK holiday shoppers lost as much as £5000 to cybercriminals, with victims losing £211.24 on average to holiday scams. The survey also shows that nearly half (48%) of UK consumers are concerned about falling victim to a Black Friday or Cyber Monday scam, with consumers being especially wary considering the new methods available to scammers – 51% said they’re specifically concerned about AI shopping scams and 59% are concerned about older loved ones falling for a suspicious email or text scam offering sales offers.
The 2023 Holiday Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report, which explores consumers’ experiences and attitudes surrounding digital safety during the holiday season, revealed that 20% of consumers have been targeted by holiday scams during the holiday season, and 45% stated they wish they knew how to better protect themselves from cybercriminals during the holiday seasons.
Cybercriminals primarily targeted victims during the holiday season by connecting through social media platforms (39%), text messages (33%), phone call (29%), third-party websites (27%) and email (27%). Online shopping emerged as a holiday activity even more ripe with opportunity for cybercriminals. The research showed online shopping scams (55%) and postal delivery scams (27%)were the most common type of scams for victims of holiday scams, with respondents also noting high instances of refund scams (24%) and charity scams (23%).
“Scammers disproportionately prey on shoppers during the holiday season, especially those looking to save money,” said Steve Wilson, Senior Director for North Europe for Norton. “You can help save yourself from the financial toll of falling victim to cybercriminals by mastering the ability to spot scams and remaining vigilant for any suspicious links or unusual activity in your bank and credit card accounts.”
On the bright side, the report shows consumers are taking cyber safety more seriously. This year, 69% of respondents plan to not make purchases using unsecured or public WiFi and 79% will abandon a purchase if they notice the website is not authentic.
While this kind of awareness will help shoppers avoid falling into a cyber trap, Norton experts recommend that shoppers use multiple tactics to protect themselves from scams and cybercrimes this holiday season:
- Never buy from unrecognised retailers. Be sure to check details of unfamiliar stores and ratings and reviews of resellers. And be suspicious of too many five-star reviews as this could indicate fake ratings.
- Always be sure websites are secure and start with https to ensure security.
- Be vigilant and avoid the lure deals and offers that seem too good to be true, like must-have gifts at extremely low prices.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect and keep personal information secure when shopping or using apps on public Wi-Fi.
- Create strong, unique passwords for shopping sites, email accounts and financial apps.
- Keep track of passwords by using a password manager.
- Install browser security software to help protect and alert you of potential scams.