Better Business Bureau offers online shopping advice
This holiday shopping season will send thousands of consumers not to stores, but to their smartphones and computers. In fact, according to the online shopping blog Drop Down Deals, six out of 10 consumers say they’ll do most of their shopping online.
With that much cyber activity, scammers are poised to strike. And with so many consumers using their smartphones online, mobile malware and malicious mobile apps have become a major concern. McAfee, a computer security vendor, cites a 76 percent increase in malware attacks in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the first.
“The main target is Android phones,” said Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). “However, users of Apple products iPhones and iPads are not exempt, either. A few years ago, it was nearly unthinkable that Macs or any Apple product would be open to attack, but with increasing popularity — cyber criminals have stepped up their game.”
Additionally, Horton said, “New malware has been found that targets QR codes and mobile apps that will steal information from smartphones.”
While shopping online, if consumers are not wary, millions of dollars could be lost, and a ruined Christmas could be the result. The BBB offers the following recommendations:
• Only download apps from official app stores, such as iTunes and Android Market.
• Do not respond to unsolicited e-mail.
• Do not post information about your holiday travel plans on social networking sites. And watch out for “too-good-to-be-true” offers on these sites as well.
• Never provide personal or financial information to participate in online promotions.
• Never use unsecured websites for purchases.
• Make sure you update your security software.
In their search for great buys, shoppers should know who they are dealing with, especially if they are unfamiliar with the seller. Always go to www.bbb.org and check their BBB Business Review.
It’s projected that online shopping will generate nearly $1.1 billion in sales this holiday season, a fact that does not go unnoticed by cyber criminals. For more about Cybercrime and what consumers can do to protect themselves, contact Horton at email@example.com or (815) 963-2226.
From the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2011, issue
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