FBI warns shoppers of possible cyberscams

Black Friday shoppers, beware.

The FBI’s Boston office is reminding shoppers to beware of e-mail solicitations that steal consumers’ personal information. Shoppers should be cautious of bargain e-mails advertising one-day-only promotions for recognized brands or websites, officials said.

Scammers often use the popular items of the season to lure bargain hunters into providing credit card information, officials said.

“Especially during the holiday season, consumers should remain vigilant and proceed with caution when conducting an online transaction,’’ FBI Supervisory Special Agent Kevin Swindon said in a statement today. “Fraudsters prey on consumers to provide their personally identifiable information through bogus websites.’’


Here are some helpful tips to avoid cyberfraud:

— Log on directly to companies’ official websites instead of linking to them from an e-mail.

— If you receive an e-mail from a bank or another company you deal with frequently, check to make sure the contact information listed for the company is consistent with other communications you’ve received.

— Use anti-spyware software and keep up with the security updates to prevent viruses and other programs from infecting your computer.

— Make purchases using websites that use Secure Socket Layer, or SSL), which protects your personal information. The SSL is indicated by an unbroken padlock icon in the browser’s status bar.

— Use a credit card instead of a debit card when making a purchase.

— Never use your Social Security number to make online purchases.

— Use a strong password consisting of at least five letters and one number.

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