Security experts said this week that they expect record numbers of shoppers – and fraudsters - to turn to online shopping this year.
Proofpoint released its "five golden rules of holiday internet theft protection" earlier this month, warning consumers to be aware of the sites they visit and the email they receive and not to give out personal information through email or non-secure websites. Consumers should also keep an eye on bank and credit card accounts for fraudulent purchases, the company warned.
Keith Crosley, director of market development at Proofpoint, said the holidays are a key opportunity for fraudsters to try to trick PC users.
"Every time there is a big media story or a special event, you see a number of (fraudulent attacks)," he said.
The company's vice president for product development, Andres Kohn, said fraudsters feed on shoppers struggling to find presents just before the holidays.
"What phishers are trying to do is to create an atmosphere of urgency," he said. "The most important thing for them is that customers are confused and thinking about just getting what they need."
Prat Moghe, founder and chief executive officer at Tizor, said the number of fraudulent online commerce incidents will increase with the number of online shoppers. Many companies, he said, do not yet have systems in place for dealing with fraud incidents and breaches.
"(Holiday shopping online) is like going into a department store and expecting to see a lot more shoplifting incidents," he said. "Companies have to know what is their process (for dealing with security incidents), and how you go about it immediately. They have to see how you go about making it into a business process."