Online holiday shopping scams head to your inbox

With more Americans shopping online, Black Friday just isn't what it used to be.

Now, scammers are taking notice - looking for more ways to trick you into giving them your personal information. They are emailing shoppers fake ads, masked as major retailers, hoping to get them to enter their data onto their sites. 

"If you get an email that says something's free, or 90 percent off, click this link. Don't click that link," said Chris Simpson, director of National University Center for Cyber Security. 

Simpson says there are key ways to spot phishing emails. One giveaway is a snappy subject line, such as refund, or bonus, or job layoffs.

He said another is to call you a client, instead of by your first name, since they don't have it. 

And even if the link says something generic like "click here to upload your information," you can often hover over it to see where it really takes you. If it seems garbled, or random, it's probably fake. 

Also, take a look at the return email address. Scammers can create a domain that looks like your favorite retailer, hoping you'll gloss over it. For instance, a scammer could use @mazon.com instead of the truthful Amazon.com.

Simpson says if he is interested in an email offer, he'll type the retailer's address right into his browser to find it himself. 

"A retailer's not going to give you an exclusive email deal," he said. "They'll want you to go to their website."

 

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