Internet shopping may well reach records highs this holiday season. This influx of business is welcomed by online retailers and criminals alike. Criminals believe that online shoppers are vulnerable to their scams – and they’re right. These aren’t the crooks of yesteryear, today’s thieves don’t need guns – they’ve got technology.
In the last year internet fraud and identity theft have become more widespread than ever. Despite the risks many shoppers choose to do the bulk of their holiday buying online. Who can blame them? There’s nothing worse than standing for hours in line at a department store, battling raging drivers in traffic, or having to travel to several stores just to find one item (wasting gas and money in the process).
When it comes to shopping online the best advice is “buyer beware.” A 2007 survey reported the number of consumers taken in by bogus offers increased by 40 percent between the 2006 and 2007 holiday seasons. Three percent of the adults surveyed said that they lost money from phishing scam. Last year the overall costs to consumers of online fraud surpassed $3 billion, compared with $2 billion the year before.