Halloween 2023, like other holidays and events this year, will likely become the subject of a large number of shopping scams. Scammers create websites offering to purchase various themed products at low prices, when in fact they just take your money and disappear.
What are online shopping scams?
Online shopping scams are what it sounds like. Websites, often poorly done or copying the designs of others, offer absolutely everything for sale. Some of them are dedicated to a certain topic, some are not, but all of them have huge discounts – up to 90%. To attract even more users, sites offer free shipping on orders over $50-70.
But as you might guess, none of these claims are true. including even website products. People who have ordered from these sites either don’t receive their order at all or have low quality/irrelevant items delivered. Furthermore, it is suspected that an ongoing “USPS delivery failure” scam The campaign uses personal data disclosed from these sites.
Shopping scam sites often adjust their themes based on current events. In May, after the bankruptcy of Bed, Bath & Beyond, rascals started opening “Bed Bath & Beyond stock clearance” sites. On financial difficulties of British retailer Wilko, they also started to imitate this retail chain. Other retail chains that do not have such problems are also copied. just without notice of stock liquidation.
Halloween Online Shopping Scams: What to Expect?
Well, from what I have seen in the mentioned cases of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Wilko, it is possible to predict certain characteristics of upcoming scams. As usual, they’ll get huge discounts and free shipping on orders over 5 cents. The local concentration of Halloween-related scams, however, is not tied to a specific brand. I expect them to target users in the Americas, Europe and the UK..
Another aspect of the story is how cheaters will promote these scams. The majority of fraudulent stores generally use advertisements on Facebook or on sites that do not filter the content they promote. This time, things won’t be much different – most likely, these “Halloween discounters” will promote themselves with slogans like “buy the Halloween stuff you’ve missed so far!”.
Actually, some scams on this topic appeared at the end of August. Maybe they tried to play on people who will buy everything in advance. However, these first hatchlings can give a fairly good representation from a fraudulent Halloween-themed website.
How to protect yourself?
Being aware of ongoing scam campaigns already makes it harder for scammers to steal your money. Nevertheless, they are constantly trying to improve their phishing environment. More realistic claims, fewer discounts, fewer templated websites: it may not be so easy even for experienced users to discover the scam. However, there are some signs that scammers will never be able to get rid of. Let me explain each one to you.
Recent registration date. Why would a long-standing retail chain establish a separate site for Halloween items? Most scam sites, even those that do their best to appear authentic, are registered less than a month ago. Keeping them in sleep mode for longer, just to clear the picture, reduces possible profits, while active scamming results in a domain ban fairly quickly.
You can check the domain registration date on any domain search utility available online. Using GridinSoft Online Domain Scanneryou can also see the conclusion of the status of our network filter.
Questionable URL. Since a branded or good-looking domain name costs a penny, scammers use URLs like strengtvs.com or sadnfqemma.com. Obviously, no legitimate store will stick to such a name – it’s simply not relevant to building their brand image. Another thing to watch out for is the domain name zone. Scammers usually opt for cheaper sites, like .xyz, .shop, .site, etc.
Lack of or few support options. This is yet another thing that flows from the purpose of the site. Genuine shopping sites will offer to contact support via email, sometimes even multiple emails, phone calls, or even live chat. Fraudulent sites will most likely end up with a single address that will never respond. In some cases, scammers use a single “support” email address that remains the same across different scams. This makes it possible to track associated scam sites with a simple Google search.
Offers to use an untraceable/uncontrolled payment method. This is a rare phenomenon, and it obviously requires going further into the scam. If the available payment methods are crypto transfers or Venmo/CashApp payments, make sure you are dealing with a scam. Although used in a number of volunteer businesses, these payment methods are either untraceable or involve no return. This implies that once your money is out, there is no way to go back – a very suitable option for fraudsters.