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Holiday Season Cybersecurity: 3 Online Shopping Scams To Look Out For

Created at November 22, 2021

Every year, the holiday season proves to be the busiest couple of months for essentially everyone, even for cybercriminals and their online shopping scams.

In fact, we could say “especially for cybercriminals.”

Thanks to online shopping trends, an annual spike in online activity between November and December presents a field day during which scammers can do their thing. That’s a habit that’s only likely to stick around (and/or increase) as more people opt out of fighting crowds in favor of one-tap couch couponing.

So, before you fire up your preferred browser, open up all those tabs, and cash in on all those great deals, take note of these online shopping scams that you should be on the lookout for.

Fake Sites

Phony websites that are built to mimic big, well-known brands are a common sight around Christmas time. On these fraudulent websites, you’ll find low prices, unrealistic promises, and unbelievable deals that are often too good to be true.

As it turns out, it’s because they are.

Instead of big savings, you’ll find yourself in big trouble when you fall for this deceptive front for malware, phishing, and other malicious cyberattacks. The best way to tell whether or not you’re on a fake page or the real thing? Fake ones are typically riddled with popup ads, misspelled words and links, sloppy design, and unusual, overreaching information requests.


Deal-related promotion emails are a common sight for anyone with an email address in 2021, especially around the holidays. This clutter of messaging presents the perfect opportunity for scammers to sneak their way into your inbox. Scam filters don’t always catch them, though, so the need to be extra vigilant when it comes to which emails you open and read is extra crucial. Red flags for holiday sale-related phishing emails include:

  • An unknown sender.
  • False coupons.
  • Flash sales that seem too good to be true (again, they are).
  • Sloppy brand impersonation attempts.
  • Suspicious update text messages that you didn’t request.

Fake Digital Ads

Pop-ups. We’ve all seen them, and they’re still around today. While some of them are trustworthy, many of the ones you see while shopping for everything on your wish lists are bound to include what you’ll find on a fake site that’s likely hiding behind the link on them. Remember: anything that features an unrealistic price, misspelled links or words, or suspicious branding/design should be avoided.

Online shopping should be convenient without putting you at risk of your financial info being stolen. Taking advantage of something popular and in-demand during a high-traffic time of year is classic cybercriminal behavior, and these online shopping scams are shining examples.

Do you want some help training your team on how to better recognize behavior like this during the holidays and beyond?

A scammer’s job is never done, and neither is ours. Contact us today for help protecting your business.

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