Summer travel season is here and so are travel scams

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The ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert also found an uptick in phishing scams

The Memorial Day weekend is behind us and the summer travel season has begun. The ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert found travel scams continued to surge and will likely do so through most of the summer.

From April 1 to May 29, Trend Micro's research team detected 1,305 travel-related scam URLs, which increased by 11.6% compared to the past weeks.  Trend Micro's research team identified two fake log-in pages and one fake Airbnb example. These scams are mostly showing up in Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Here are some other scams that turned up last week:

 Father’s Day shopping scam  

  • From May 15 to May 29, Trend Micro's research team detected 172,445 Father’s Day-related shopping scams globally and 30,721 Father’s Day-related shopping scams in the US, which doubled compared to the last seven days. Most of these scams use shopping discounts to attract users to purchase on fake shopping websites.  

  • The top five states being targeted are Virginia, California, Oregon, Florida, and Illinois 

We probably have a couple more weeks of this threat, which is tied to the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. In addition to fake shopping websites, these scams include e-card scams and package delivery scams. 

Last year scammers impersonated WhatsApp and claimed you could win Heineken beer for your dad by simply providing some personal information. Keep an eye out for that one in case it makes a comeback.

Walmart survey scam

  • Trend Micro's research team detected scammers inviting customers to participate in a satisfaction survey to receive a $500 gift card. The targets are prompted to fill in their personal identifying information (PII) and credit card info to claim the “prize.” This scam was identified two weeks in a row. 

  • The top five states being targeted are California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina 

This scam has held a place on the Threat Alert for at least two weeks but has probably been around much longer. The hook is the promise of a $500 gift card for filling out a survey – something no company would offer.

“Cybercriminals are capitalizing on consumers' trust in well-known brands like Walmart through sophisticated survey scams,” Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, told ConsumerAffairs. “Trend Micro's research findings reveal a concerning trend where scammers lure victims with the promise of a $500 gift card, only to trick them into divulging their personal and financial information.” 

Costco survey scam

  • Trend Micro's research team detected scammers impersonating Costco to invite customers to join a short survey to receive Airpods for free. Then the scammers collect the victims’ delivery information and credit card information. 

  • The top five states being targeted are New York, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas, and Washington 

The Costco survey scam is another case of bad actors using a well-known and trusted brand to deceive consumers. Instead of the promise of a gift card, the scammers promise a set of Airpods.

Again, no company could give out thousands of expensive items in return for filling out a survey and continue to stay in business.

DocuSign Phishing  

  • Trend Micro's research team detected scammers impersonating DocuSign to send customers an email saying that their ePayment has been made and provide them the online invoice document as long as their click the ‘Review Document’ button in the email body. If users click it, they will be redirected to a fake log-in page, and their personal information might be leaked.  

  • Trend Micro detected 169 logs on May 28

The use of DocuSign services sharply increased during the pandemic and the platform continues to be widely used, bringing it to the attention of scammers. The company says it has been working to alert consumers to these schemes.

“Our customers are the first line of defense against cybersecurity threats,” DocuSign says on its website. “Detecting cyber security issues quickly reduces the possibility of negative consequences.”

The company lists many of the different scams using its name here.

Metamask Phishing 

  • Trend Micro's research team identified Metamask phishing emails containing 11,846 instances on May 27th. These emails mimic legitimate Metamask notifications, falsely claiming that someone wishes to transfer 5.18915ETH (equivalent to USD 9482.27) to you. The email instructs recipients to claim the funds by clicking a button within the email body. Upon doing so, victims are presented with a seemingly deposited amount in their account. However, if they attempt to withdraw the funds, they will be prompted to provide the token, which the hackers intend to steal. Stay vigilant and avoid falling victim to this phishing scam. 

This scam is now on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) radar screen. The agency recently warned consumers about these growing scams.

An email claiming to be from MetaMask says your cryptocurrency wallet is blocked and if you don’t act fast, click a link, and update your wallet, they say your crypto will be lost. 

“Most unexpected emails saying to act quickly, click a link, or call a number are phishing scams,” the FTC warns. They may look like they come from companies you know, but they’re from scammers who want you to think the message is real. That way, scammers think you’ll click into a fake website or call an actual scammer — all to solve a fake problem. If you click or call, the scammers will steal your financial or personal information, and that could lead to identity theft.”

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