Hacking heats up as more turn to online Christmas shopping

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Shoppers are turning to the internet this year to get Black Friday deals in order to avoid crowds during the pandemic.

While they’re safe from spreading germs, they may not be so safe from hackers.

“It seems like everyday is an online shopping holiday and this year, compared to years prior, most people are going to be shopping from home to avoid the virus that’s out there,” said web expert Craig Agranoff.

See also: Local businesses move Black Friday deals online

More people shopping online means more hackers phishing for your personal information.

“Your social security number, maybe your passwords and logins, your mom’s maiden name, “said Agranoff.

How do they get it?

“Last year we saw about 100,000 different fake websites on the web and we’re expecting it to be close to a quarter of a million this year. And those are sites that are set up to look like real shopping sites except they usually have a different name or spelling,” said Agranoff.

See also: Criminals target online shoppers during Black Friday shopping

Hackers get you to these websites with fake ads on google or social media with fake deals. They’ll also send you phishing emails, which go up 80 percent this time of year.

“The one’s who are most vulnerable online this holiday season are the people who have less money and have potentially lost their jobs because they don’t have the extra money to spend this year,” said Agranoff.

You can stay safe by shopping through a store’s app or going directly to a website by typing it in your browser, not by googling it or clicking on a Facebook add.

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The bottom line when avoiding scams:

“If something looks too good to be true, I promise you all, it is too good to be true,” said Agranoff.

According to Check Point researchers, there’s been an 80% increase in  phishing campaigns targeting online shoppers via “special offers.”

Phishing emails increase by over 13X in the past 6 weeks: 1 in every 826 emails delivered to users worldwide is a phishing email