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Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams

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My name is Mark Fenton and I specialize in investigating online crimes. I am a Senior Investigator at Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc. I oversee and manage the OSINT Intelligence Division focusing on anything related to the Internet; background checks, locating individuals, corporate due diligence and personal online safety.

As a 28 year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department with 12 years spent in the Technological Crimes Unit, I have recovered approximately $600 million in compromised financial data. I have provided crucial intelligence in relation to a number of high profile data breaches across North America, which resulted in the successful arrests of a number of global suspects.

As well as assisting municipal law enforcement agencies across Canada and the United States, I have also worked closely with the RCMP, the FBI, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspectors and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria. I have also assisted the top 7 financial institutions in Canada, a number of large U.S banks and the 4 main North American credit card companies in recovering millions of dollars’ worth of compromised data.

Who doesn’t like a deal? I know I do!

Now that Christmas is only a month away you can expect to see the Christmas ads start to ramp up.  As well as the tv ads, your Inbox should also be starting to fill up with “Don’t miss out!” or “Unbelievable deals!”  Well, there is a reason why they are unbelievable.

Black Friday is the official start of the holiday scam season.  I’ve already noticed a significant increase in Spam email offering me all sorts of “one time only” deals.  It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hype, and with the projected supply shortage, no one wants to lose out.

It’s therefore important that we take a step back, a deep breath, and look carefully before we click. In fact, my advice to you is not to click at all.  If you see an email supposedly offering “fantastic deals” go to the online store and confirm the item. Once confirmed, order it through the store – not the email.  Many scammers will design their emails to mimic the real email sent out by popular retail stores. When you click the purchase button in the email you end up providing your payment details to the scammer.

And what about those delivery scam emails?  With all those online orders it’s easy to lose track of what’s arrived and what hasn’t. Successful scams rely on this confusion.  The scammers send out delivery notice emails saying that your delivery has “outstanding service charges” or, “we missed you, please contact us.”  In both instances the scammers are attempting to obtain your personal, and financial, information.

For many people, this time of year can often be very stressful.  In our rush to get things done for the holidays we often let down our guard.  A simple rule to remember is “Look before you click.’  Is that email actually from that company? Do you subscribe to their newsletters? Are you expecting a delivery? Taking a minute or two to confirm the authenticity of an email can save you a lot of potential heartache and financial stress.

Do you feel like you or your business might be at risk for fraud? At Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc. we can offer the necessary due diligence to protect you, your employees and your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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