By Andrew Brandt
Now that the turkey and pumpkin pie has settled, and everyone’s gotten a good night’s sleep, shoppers are busily hustling the Web for the best deals. I’ve been doing the same thing, and wanted to share some of my tips that may help you avoid becoming snared in the most prolific cyberscam of the moment: fake virus alert messages (otherwise known as fakealerts).
For months, the perpetrators of this fraud have been honing their skills at targeting malicious web pages to rise in search results for whatever is in the popular zeitgeist-of-the-moment. Victims experience a computer that appears to be out of control, seemingly unable to do anything but download whatever application the fakealert forces upon them.
Take a look at this video. Earlier in the week I tried searching for news about Black Friday or deals on the toy that appears to be the Tickle Me Elmo of 2009, the hard to find Zhu Zhu Pets. What I found were a flood of fakealert sites mixed in with the legitimate search results.
The good news is, it’s not hard to avoid these fakealert sites, but you have to be an alert Web surfer, and carefully scrutinize the results before you click a link. Read on for my top six tips to shop online safely this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or anytime this holiday season.