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Phishing Sites on the Rise as Scammers Exploit Online Shoppers

04 August 2020 - 12:05 by Graham Miller

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Fraudulent sites claiming to offer low prices on popular products are increasingly common, with new information from the FBI suggesting that cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target people who are trying to carry out safe shopping online during the pandemic.

A variety of product categories are being used to lure in unsuspecting victims who are looking for a bargain, with some scams seeking to deprive customers of their cash and never ship out the items ordered, while others simply send over something completely different to what was originally requested.

From exercise equipment and kitchen appliances to DIY kit and other products associated with the home, lots of different items being offered at prices that were too good to be true have been used to trick consumers around the world in the past few months of lockdown, according to Security Magazine.

In some cases, customers did receive a delivery after placing an order on phishing sites, but instead of the requested product what they got in its place was a packet of disposable face coverings. This is part of an elaborate strategy to scam them out of even more money by asking them to send the coverings back to their original shipping point, all the way over in China.

Security experts point out that many of these fraudulent sites are easy to spot because they shy away from using the .com domain and instead opt for lesser-known alternatives. Keeping an eye out for such inconsistencies and also being aware that if something is priced improbably, it is likely too good to be true, should help consumers to stay safe.

It is still sensible to shop only with online brands that are trusted and independently verified rather than risking it all with a suspicious site.