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HOUSTON (CW39)   –  Online shopping is increasing due to the global pandemic, but so is cybercrime!  According McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team, there’s been a 12% increate in the number of cybercrime threats over the previous quarter. Now with online activity expected to rise for both consumers and criminals, there’s concern that consumers are not taking security threats as seriously as they should. McAfee found these key insights on online security across generational groups:

·       Only 27% of respondents between the ages of 18-24 always check to see if Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday deals sent via email or text are authentic and trusted 

·       34% of respondents ages 45+ have fallen victim of online scams during the holiday season, losing $100+ 

·       77% of respondents ages 45+ are planning on increasing their online activity to interact or engage with friend and family members 

Here are the biggest threats McAfee says you may see this season:

·       Online Gift Cards: eGift cards will play a big role in holiday season celebrations with 35% of respondents planning to purchase more online gift cards this year and 45% intend on sending and receiving the same as years past 

o   The Threat: McAfeehas discovered a significant increase in fake online gift cards on the dark web and from fake gift card scams putting 73% of consumers ages 18-25 who don’t check the authenticity of gift cards and the 25% of all respondents that automatically assume gift card links are safe at risk of financial loss and or having personal details compromised.  

·       Fake Online Deals/Spoofed Retailer Sites: Less than half of consumers check to see if Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals sent via email/text are authentic and trusted

o   The Threat: This presents a major issue this holiday shopping season, as McAfee found an increase of fake sites built to trick consumers by luring them in with a cheaper price and a convincing website 

To find specific threats for online gift cards click here and for specific fake deals and spoofed retailer sites click here.

To stay safe this holiday season McAfee says you should use multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information. You should also add a security tool to block malware and phishing sites via malicious links.  Finally, be sure to protect your identity and important personal and financial details.