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CADNA Warns Of Dodgy Websites In US Holiday Shopping Season

It’s the time of the year when Americans go a bit crazy with shopping, online and offline. During last year’s Cyber Monday, Americans spent $1.98 billion shopping online, topping Thanksgiving online sales by 17 percent.But with such large amounts of money being spent, scammers are always going to follow. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has looked at this, examining “the registered typo variations of the top 100-trafficked websites as determined by Interbrand,” writes Yvette Miller in the Huffington Post. “We found 2,089 domain names in this category,” she write, and then they “examined the registration information and content for each domain.””The data showed that only 19 percent of the domain names resolved to the target content, which means the marketplace is full of bad actors trying to fool consumers.”Miller then examines the common ways scammers take advantage of the unsuspecting, trusting online shopper. These are:

  • pay per click (PPC) sites – the most common websites with a typo domain –PPC advertisements are tools used to monetise the internet user traffic that arrives at a domain name
  • scam/malware sites – two percent of the sites CADNA examined hosted scams or potentially harboured malware through prompts to enter information for a prize or, perhaps, prompts to download files from the website
  • “affiliate” sites – where “brands offer affiliate programs, which allow third party website owners to post the brands’ links and banners on the third party site or to send traffic to the brand’s site directly through domain forwards (watch what happens in the browser bar — you’ll notice the redirect). In return, the owner of the site hosting the link receives a commission for every click-through that results in a purchase”.

CADNA doesn’t want to scare shoppers. Miller concludes by writing “Be careful this holiday season: Only visit sites that have been clearly advertised. Double check the spelling in the address bar if something looks a bit off. Don’t divulge personal information where you’re not used to doing so. And don’t download suspicious-looking attachments.”The full article is available at www.huffingtonpost.com/yvette-miller/cyber-safety-on-cyber-mon_b_4351639.html.