Gifts, glitter, friends, family and good cheer – these are the things that make the holidays special. The last thing you want to deal with is the fallout from an online attack or scam, but the reality is they are all too common this time of year.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the season and its increase of online shopping and financial transactions. Here are some common scams to be on the lookout for this holiday season.
Phishing emails and websites: cybercriminals send phishing emails or set up fake websites that mimic legitimate retailers. These scams aim to trick people into handing over personal information, login credentials or financial details.
Fake charities: scammers take advantage of the holiday spirit by creating fake charities and donation campaigns. They solicit donations for supposed worthy causes but pocket the money for themselves. To counteract these scamsters, verify the legitimacy of the charitable organizations before you make any donations.
Gift card scams: fraudsters may request payment in the form of gift cards, claiming it’s for a charitable cause, to resolve a supposed debt or as a form of payment for goods or services. Remember, a legitimate business or organization will never ask for payment in gift cards.
Package delivery scams: with the increase in online shopping over the holidays, scammers may send fake delivery notifications, either by text or email, claiming there is an issue with a package. The link in these messages directs the recipient to a malicious website where they are asked to provide personal information.
Travel scams: with more travelers over the holiday season, scammers take advantage by making fake travel deals, discounted accommodations and phony vacation packages. Victims may find they have paid for non-existent services.
E-card scams: cybercriminals send fake electronic greeting cards that contain malware or direct recipients to phishing websites. Legitimate e-cards only come from known senders, so it’s important to be cautious with unexpected or e-cards from strangers.
Social media scams: scammers use social media platforms to promote fake contests, giveaways or discounted products. These schemes may lead users to share their personal information or make payments to receive non-existent prizes.
Job scams: with the holiday festivities comes an increase in job scams, where fraudsters post fake job listings to collect personal information or advance fees from job seekers.
Tech support scams: cybercriminals sometimes reach out to individuals, claiming to be from tech support, warning of issues with devices or accounts. These criminals may request remote access to the computer or for payment for supposed services.
To avoid falling victim, we’ve got a few tips you can use:
The old adage if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, still holds true in this digital age. Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.
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