As the holidays kick into high gear, so do an influx of holiday-related scams circulating the interwebs. Scams don't wait for the holidays, but scammers do take advantage of the season of giving!
While emails from your favorite retailers could be legitimate, not all of them will be this shopping season. Exercise caution when receiving unexpected deals or product promotions from stores or sellers you have never dealt with. Read the emails carefully before opening attachments or clicking on links.
Take a look at these real-life examples of phishing emails:
- Secret Santa messages – Chances are, you don’t have a secret Santa, so don’t click the link to find out who it is or what they got for you.
- I’m Stuck Overseas! – This one's a classic. If you're being targeted, threat actors will look up friends on social media that are traveling and use this against you. This usually involves wiring money because theirs was stolen.
- iTunes gift certificates – Watch out for emails claiming someone gave you a gift certificate, asking you to click on the certificate to claim it. Check with the sender first.
- e-Cards with mismatched links – If the link in the email isn’t from the e-Card company’s site (look at the domain name), it’s probably not something you should open.
- Surveys that offer gift cards – Thieves are counting on the fact that you’d like to buy more gifts or give gift cards this time of the year. Filling out surveys is an easy way to get your personal information in general.
- Direct Deposit cancellations –Security vendor SecureWorks sees several of these types of emails every year because people are concerned about not having cash on hand for holiday shopping. Rather than clicking, call us to verify the cancellation.
- Package Not Deliverable – If you get a message saying you’ve got a package waiting, call your local post office. Don’t “print out the postage label”.
- Fake flight confirmations / updates or hotel changes / extra charges – These will usually involve the major airlines or chain (like Delta, American Airlines, Hilton, Marriott) and will try to get you to click on a link. Call the airline or hotel.
- Charity requests – Make sure to confirm with the organization directly before contributing, especially if you talk about a charity in your social media.
- Work from home programs for extra holiday money – Always be wary of giving out your info without checking the organization.
- Holiday screensavers – Many sites may contain malware that you’ll be downloading with your new screensaver or other images.
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