December 15, 2004, 12:00 AM

Most consumers expect increase in e-mail scams as holidays approach

90% of consumers polled by MarkMonitor expect an increase in the number of fake or suspicious e-mail offers during the holiday shopping season. 30% of those already encountering such e-mails this season say they’ve received 50 or more.


As the holiday shopping season heats up, so do consumers’ expectations of online e-mail scams. According to a holiday online shopping survey conducted by fraud protection services provider MarkMonitor, 90% of consumers polled expect an increase in the number of e-mails offering fake or suspicious products or services the closer they get to the holidays.

In fact, nearly one third of those polled already have received such e-mail offers. Of the 84% who say they already have received e-mails with fake or suspicious offers, nearly 30% report they’ve encountered 50 or more such online scams to far this holiday season.

Watches were deemed by consumers the second most difficult category in which to tell fake from real e-mail offers. Cited by 32% of those polled, e-mailed offers for watches trailed only prescription drugs, cited by 38%, in this regard. Other categories in which consumers reported difficulty separating fake from legitimate e-mail offers included a number of gift categories such as gift certificates and cards, cited by 31%; perfumes, cited by 28%; electronics, 25%; DVDs, 22%; video games, 19% and toys, 16%.

“As cyber criminals become smarter, the online scams they create are more sophisticated and less likely to be recognized by consumers as fraudulent,” says Mark Shull, MarkMonitor CEO. “Consumer education alone is not sufficient to stop online fraud, so increasingly corporations are implementing systems and programs to protect themselves and their customers.”

Despite increased online scams, however, most consumers reported they don’t plan to change online holiday shopping habits. Only 24% of those surveyed said they did not plan to do any online shopping this holiday season.


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