Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Home Covid-19 Boxing Day sales present threat of online scams to Canadians, study suggests

Boxing Day sales present threat of online scams to Canadians, study suggests

With COVID-19 restrictions eased, retailers are expecting more in-store shopping for Boxing Day this year

“We see people are coming back to the store, coming back to that amazing experience that they had before,” said Remi Sammoun, Best Buy’s territory leader in Montreal.

Still, some people do prefer the convenience of online shopping, and security experts, who fear consumers aren’t vigilant, warn that scammers are watching, especially this time of year.

A recent study for VPN service provider, NordVPN, says nearly 10 million Canadians have fallen victim to online scams.

Read more:

‘Epidemic of cybercrime’ underway in midst of pandemic: Security expert

The survey that polled over 8,000 respondents worldwide also suggests that 90 per cent of victims were still willing to give up personal data in exchange for some kind of deal.

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“They’d be willing to give up a child’s name, be willing to give up their social insurance number, be willing to provide additional personal details for the opportunity at an extra discount,” explained David Nuti, Nord Security senior vice-president of North America.

The company said it’s information that’s not usually required for a transaction, but can lead to theft.

According to the study, the bigger priority for respondents was getting the discount, rather than internet security.

“When you’re in this time of year and you have urgency over Boxing Day sales and opportunities, bad actors realize that’s when people make mistakes,” Nuti told Global News.

Experts say there are some red flags consumers should watch out for.

One example is if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“You see a high-end clothing brand, for example, that sells for hundreds of dollars per item,” cybersecurity expert and author Terry Cutler explained, “and now all of a sudden they’re being discounted 50, 75 per cent off.”

It could be an attempt to trick the consumer into giving their credit card number or cash, he noted.

He and other cybersecurity advocates offer the following tips:

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  • Be suspicious of unusually good deals;
  • Don’t click on unfamiliar links;
  • Don’t give personal information you don’t need to;
  • Don’t browse using public Wi-Fi; and
  • Shop with reputable retailers.

Above all, they say, slow down and make safety the priority.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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