A warning from cyber experts as scammers are on the prowl during your holiday shopping

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 7:21 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - We’re just days past Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. With winter holidays quickly approaching, many of us are spending time online scrolling, adding to the cart, and making spur-of-the-moment purchases. News 4′s watching your bottom dollar and making sure scammers aren’t digging into your payroll or personal information this holiday season.

“I first checked my credit card accounts and nothing had been charged, so I thought it was probably a scam,” Leanne McCrate said.

McCrate received a text from an unknown number last week. It said “Your card charged $627.89 for SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S7 FE 2021 Android Tablet, Order-ID (MKOIJ) on 28, 11-22, NOT you? Reach us: +18052424432.”

“It got my attention because I’ve received alerts like that from my bank, which were actually legitimate,” McCrate explained.

McCrate said she knew something was off, and when she called the number in the text, she was right.

“They asked for information from the text, and when I asked them who they were with, they paused and got a little indignant, and I knew then it was a scam and hung up the phone,” McCrate said.

Since the beginning of 2022, The Better Business Bureau said it has seen nearly $380 million lost to online retail fraud. Forty percent of those scams initiated from social media and emails.

“With the holiday season upon us, don’t be paranoid, just be leery of an email that might be too good to be true,” Tim Reboulet said.

Reboulet is a cyber security expert at Speartip Cyber Counterintelligence in West County. For more than two decades, Reboulet served as a secret service agent. Then, he moved back to St. Louis to create the region’s first electronic crimes task force, which still operates today.

“The two big attack methods are business email compromise and ransomware, which a phishing email could be the start of a ransomware attack,” Reboulet explained.

Reboulet said one of the most common phishing emails could look like one you get every day, like one from your bank. However, when you look closer, there could be misspellings, false urgency, potentially malicious links, information you’ve most likely already provided and more.

“Slow down, take your time, look at a particular email, the header, the content of the email. When in doubt, go to said website instead of clicking on it,” Reboulet recommended.

Speartip offers 24/7 cyber security help. To learn more, click here.