Norton reveals full extent of holiday shopping scams

A Norton survey suggests that consumers are feeling at risk when shopping online in the midst of rising sophisticated cyberattacks from scammers

A new global survey from Norton, the cyber safety brand of Gen, reveals that last year, UK holiday shoppers lost as much as £5000 (US$6072.15) to cybercriminals, with victims losing an average of £211.24 (US$256.54) to holiday scams. 

Norton’s survey also highlights that nearly half (48%) of UK consumers are concerned about falling victim to Black Friday or Cyber Monday scams. Concerning the sophisticated exploitative methods now available to scammers or cybercriminals, 51% said they are concerned about AI shopping scams. Additionally, 59% are concerned about older loved ones falling for an email or text scam offering sales offers.

Consumers continue to be targeted by cybercriminals

The 2023 Holiday Norton Cyber Safety Report explores the experiences and attitudes that consumers have surrounding digital safety during the holiday season. Findings have revealed that as much as 20% of consumers have been targeted by scams during the holiday season, with 45% stating they wish they knew how to better protect themselves from cybercriminals during this time.

According to Norton’s research of last year, cybercriminals primarily targeted victims during the holiday season by connecting through social media platforms (39%), text messages (33%), phone calls (29%), third-party websites (27%) and email (27%). Online shopping also emerged as a holiday activity with even more opportunity for cybercriminals. 

In addition, online shopping scams (55%) and postal delivery scams (27%) were the most common type of scams for victims of holiday scams, with respondents noting high instances of refund scams (24%) and charity scams (23%).

“Scammers disproportionately prey on shoppers during the holiday season, especially those looking to save money,” said Steve Wilson, Senior Director for North Europe for Gen. “You can help save yourself from the financial toll of falling victim to cybercriminals by mastering the ability to spot scams and remaining vigilant for any suspicious links or unusual activity in your bank and credit card accounts.”

Despite this, Norton states that consumers appear to be taking cyber safety more seriously, noting that 69% of respondents plan to not make purchases using unsecured or public WiFi and 79% will abandon a purchase if they notice the website is not authentic.

A global business outlook on scammers

It is no secret that the rapid development of AI is causing ‘bad actors’ to create a darker side to these systems. As businesses all over the world continue to integrate and adopt AI tools into their everyday operations, cybercriminals are simultaneously developing new ways to hack into essential systems and intensify scamming activities.

While this kind of awareness and advice from businesses can work to help shoppers avoid falling victim, Norton experts have recommended that shoppers use multiple tactics to protect themselves from scams and cybercrimes this holiday season.

These include:
  • Never buying from unrecognised retailers - check unfamiliar stores and ratings and reviews of resellers
  • Always be sure websites are secure and start with ‘https’ to ensure security
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Users could also use Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect and keep personal information secure when shopping or using apps on public WiFi
  • Create strong, unique passwords for shopping sites, email accounts and financial apps - users can keep track of these by using a password manager
  • Install browser security software to help protect and alert you of potential scams

The rapid pace of technological development in cybersecurity has provided companies with a competitive edge against malicious actors. However, just as businesses have embraced digital transformation and new operational approaches, so have their adversaries.

It is important for businesses to help their consumers as much as possible to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats.

Norton in particular helps consumers shop safely online with products like Norton Genie, a free AI-powered scam detector application for messages, social media posts, email or websites.


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Other magazines that may be of interest - Technology Magazine | AI Magazine.

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