CyberSecurity Source | Fall 2023

Your exclusive access to cyber security news, tips and resources.

How to Spot Fake Reviews

Online shopping has become an everyday part of our lives, and as we enter the holiday shopping season it’s a welcomed tool that helps us from needing to brave the harsh winter elements to score a good deal. But, before you click “checkout,” did you remember to check the reviews? If you’re like 74% of Americans the answer to this is “at least sometimes” according to Consumer Reports; but more importantly, do you know how to spot fake reviews?

One helpful tip is to always be suspicious of overenthusiastic reviews that seem to say little about the product; reviews like this will often use words like “brilliant” or “phenomenal” without saying why the product was brilliant. The same can be said for negative reviews too, which is why it’s important to cross-reference reviews from the website with those from reputable consumer publications, like Consumer Reports, to ensure you are getting the product you expect.

Taking a few extra moments to make sure reviews are valid can help to make sure scammers don’t spoil your holiday cheer!

With high-profile stars on major tours next year there’s a good chance a ticket to one of these shows is on your gift list, and the high demand for seats might make it tempting to look in unusual places for tickets against your better judgement. These conditions create a perfect situation for cybercriminals to take advantage of the demand, making it important to take extra precautions before spending your hard-earned money. Use these tips to make sure you aren’t scammed and looking for last-minute tickets:

  • If buying a ticket from an individual, ensure it's someone you know personally, like a friend, family member, or coworker.
  • Consider using a credit card for ticket purchases, like the CorTrust Bank CorPlatinum Visa credit card. This payment option offers more robust protections in the event of fraud compared to other payment methods.
  • Always verify the seat details on a floor chart when purchasing tickets.
  • If using well-known ticketing sites like Ticketmaster or StubHub, make sure the website URL is correct to avoid falling for look-alike sites created by scammers.

As holiday packages begin to crisscross the country, scammers are sending out phishing emails and texts disguised as FedEx, UPS, or U.S. Postal Service notifications about incoming or missed deliveries. The deceiving messages may say you need to confirm an order so it can be delivered, or that an unsuccessful attempt was made to drop off a package and you need to schedule another, but in all reality these links are designed for one purpose only: to collect your personal information. Thankfully, by using the following tips, you can rest assured that your packages will be delivered, and your holidays won’t be interrupted!

  • Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, texts, or emails from a delivery service. Companies will usually alert you to a failed delivery by leaving a notice on your door.
  • Keep track of your online orders and their delivery status. Knowing what’s coming makes it easier to spot fake delivery messages.
  • Double check links in suspicious delivery emails and texts to make sure the link is taking you to the actual company page.
  • Use safe ways to communicate with delivery companies, like calling a confirmed customer-service number, or logging on to a company’s official website and using the chat function.
  • Don’t respond to an unsolicited email claiming to be from a delivery service that asks you to provide, update or verify personal information.
  • Don’t give out personal or credit card information to a caller. Find and call the company’s official customer-service number and ask if they were trying to contact you about a delivery.