1. The Fake Online Shop
Yup, the original Internet scam is alive and well–-or at least a variation of it is. While it's really just an extension of older scams (the mail order scam, etc.), this swindle is consistently responsible for the bulk of consumer complaints, according to IC3. Crooks create a fake online store and sell things like 25-cent iPads and other ridiculously priced (or free) gear. As Hilbert notes, cyber criminals will often spend the extra time and effort to post fake recommendations on rating sites to help move their phony shop into the top slot on search engines. Gullible and deal-hungry consumers (that'd be us) stumble upon them, and, in our infinitely unwise haste, make the purchase. What happens next? Exactly what you'd expect. The crooks charge your card and never send out any product. For the creator(s) of the site, the whole endeavor costs maybe $5-10, which of course they've paid for with another stolen credit card. The lesson? "Even when you're hypersensitive and paranoid, time and effort and speed of transaction always over takes your paranoia," says Hilbert. Damn your convenience, Internet!
What you can do: Stop being gullible! If it looks too good to be true, it is. Period. Now go back to Amazon. Or at least buy something from me. ShadyGardiner.com has the best holiday deals, I swear!