Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 21, 2013
As Halloween approaches, Scambook, the Internet’s leading consumer advisory platform, has identified three schemes to watch out for this October. Safety is a crucial around all holidays and Scambook is alerting the public to watch out for Halloween costume stores that don’t deliver, Halloween-themed phishing attacks, and scalpers selling fake tickets for haunted house tours and theme park events such as Six Flags Fright Fest.
“Scammers always take advantage of holiday hype to trick the public into schemes built around the holiday’s festivities. For Halloween, they focus on costume store scams and other Halloween-themed fraud,” says Scambook’s Director of Marketing Kase Chong.
Scambook wants consumers to be aware of these top three trending Halloween scams and what they can do to protect themselves this year:
1. Retail Tales of Terror: I Paid for My Costume, Where Is It?
There are many bogus costume shops, which is one of the biggest threats to consumers during the Halloween season. Scambook has received various complaints from consumers who ordered a costume from a website and never received it, despite being charged. Customers have also received the wrong sizes or costumes in poor condition. Unfortunately, dealing with customer service for these websites can be a nightmare. Consumers may be unable to get a refund or return their costume, and now a fraudster also has their credit card number.
On Internet marketplaces like eBay and Etsy, consumers may encounter fraudulent individual sellers auctioning off costumes, Halloween memorabilia and raw materials for costume-making. As with any online store, these individuals might take customers’ money and never send the item. Be extra careful if bidding on a prop or costume from a scary movie. Consumers might receive a counterfeit prop with a forged certificate of authenticity.
Scambook Tip: Whether buying from an online retailer or an individual on an auction site, look them up on Scambook before distributing any personal or financial info. Then, check the url of the webpage when placing the order. If it’s legitimate, the url should begin with “https” – the s stands for “secure.” On eBay and Etsy, review the seller’s feedback rating. If an unauthorized charge is found on credit card bills after buying a Halloween costume online, click here to watch our Scambook TV video about how to dispute the charge and get money back.
2. The Email Is Coming from Inside the House: Don’t Get Halloween Hacked
Hackers and cybercriminals also use the holiday to target victims with Halloween-themed phishing attacks. Victims are tricked into visiting a malicious website that downloads a Trojan virus onto their computer when scammers use a technique known as Blackhat SEO to place their website near the top of the Google search listings for “Halloween skeleton templates” or other themed search terms. Instead of jack-o-lantern cutout guides, visitors who click on the link are directed to a bogus YouTube video promising nude celebrity photos. Anyone who tries to access the photos receives the Trojan.
Cybercriminals also launch phishing attacks via email and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sending fake Halloween e-cards and links to bogus games or phony video clips. When clicked on, the computer becomes corrupted and the hackers can gain access to vital personal information stored on the hard drive, such as bank account numbers or Social Security numbers. They may also hijack accounts and use the victim's email or Facebook to spread the scheme. Friends and family might think this is from a trustworthy source and therefore open the email, further spreading the same phishing attack.
Scambook Tip: To reduce the chance of being hacked or falling victim to identity theft this Halloween, make sure computers have a secure firewall and anti-virus software that’s always turned on and regularly updated. Never open attachments or click on links in a suspicious email.
3. No Admission to the Carnival of Souls: Avoid Buying Fake Event Tickets
With any popular ticketed Halloween event such as Six Flags Fright Fest, there will always be tickets sold on secondary markets like Craigslist and Stubhub. There are also a number of individuals who purchase tickets for popular events just to resell them at an inflated price. Unfortunately, buying from one of these ticket scalpers can be risky because there’s no guarantee you’ll receive a real ticket.
Users who have fallen victim to these schemes show up for their event and find themselves turned away at the door. By the time consumers realize they’ve been ripped off, the seller has vanished.
Scambook Tip: If planning to attend a Halloween event, buy tickets early before they sell out. Never buy electronic passes or downloadable tickets from an official third-party. It’s too easy for a dishonest seller to print multiple copies and sell them to multiple people. If buying tickets from eBay or Stubhub, check the seller’s feedback reputation and always look them up on Scambook.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $18 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.
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