Boo! Scammers are exploiting Halloween


The ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert also warns of a new ACE Hardware scam

October is the witching month and with Halloween drawing closer, scammers have been busy victimizing people who are in search of products to make the holiday more fun.

This week’s ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert has identified at least 97,475 Halloween shopping-related scam URLs in the U.S. That’s a 20.67% increase compared to last year. The top five states being targeted the most in 2023 are California, Virginia, Oregon, Arizona and Texas. 

“We are seeing a number of different scams being used to entice consumers into giving up their personal information or scamming them out of money,” Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, told ConsumerAffairs. “In the last two weeks, we have seen nearly 100,000 fake Halloween shopping sites luring shoppers looking for great deals.”

Clay says email scams using Walmart as a hook have also been detected. He says consumers should be cautious when online shopping or responding to a message that likely looks too good to be true.

Speaking of Walmart, this week’s Alert found scammers pretending to be Walmart online support, informing victims they won a 65 Samsung 8K TV in a competition. To claim the prize, victims may be required to provide their personal and credit card information to the ‘online support.’ The top five states being targeted the most (in order) are Texas, California, Virginia, Florida and New York. 

Here are some other scams on our radar screen:

USPS Shipping Scam 

  • Scammers impersonate USPS to ask customers to provide delivery addresses and credit card information. The top five states being targeted the most are Texas, California, Florida, New York and Illinois. 

Funding Scam 

  • In this scam, the bad actors pretend to be the United Nations Fund Monitoring Unit and inform email receivers that they could get an ATM card with $25 million. If victims reply to scammers with their personal info, they can then claim this ATM card. The Trend Micro Research team found 788 logs on Oct 14. 

ACE Hardware Scam 

  • Scammers impersonate ACE Hardware, telling users that they have won the newest Craftsman Generator and asking them to join a loyalty program to share their credential info. The Trend Micro Research team detected 104 logs on Oct 15. 

As we head into the holidays, consumers should be especially vigilant against scams – especially offers that seem to good to be true. If you should fall victim to a scam, here’s how and where to report it.

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