By Greg Hammermaster, Sage Payment Solutions
According to a recent Forrester Research report, “U.S. Online Holiday Retail Forecast 2011,” online holiday sales will hit $59.5 billion, an increase of 15% year over year. Forrester estimates the growth will largely be attributed to the tight economy, as consumers look to the web for the best bargains.
And, according to Forrester, the surge will be furthered by the growing popularity and proliferation of web-enabled smart phones. While this spending increase may portend an economic recovery – a good thing, indeed – the bad news is credit card fraud is especially rampant during times when the overall number of credit card transactions increases exponentially.
Credit card safety is always important, but is particularly top-of-mind during the holiday shopping season.
While the traditional holiday shopping images are of beleaguered consumers running around town, hoping to procure that season’s coveted item, the season is increasingly about the click of the mouse. According to Shop.org's eHoliday survey, consumers are planning to do 36% of their 2011holiday shopping online, compared with 32.7% in 2010.
What this eSales surge means
Unfortunately, online shoppers have become the target of choice for fraudsters, who send emails advertising the harder-to-get products. I suggest that consumers treat an unsolicited online offer much in the same way they advise their kids not to talk to strangers.
There will be an uptick in the number of scam email offers during the holiday season. One recent scam, according to Mashable, involved emails appearing to be from UPS, “telling the recipient that a package they sent has not been delivered and inviting them to click a ‘track package’ link,” which directed to infected sites, not the UPS site.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to sit down with your teenagers and olde