Like it or not, whether you’re Scrooge or Mr. Claus, the holiday season is upon us.
And with it…CyberCriminals.
Yes, they are waiting in the shadows, for you to drop your guard…and your money.
Digital identity company ThreatMatrix, reports that it has detected a 25% jump in cyber attacks already this season.
In an effort to thwart CyberCriminals’ attempts to separate us from our money, here are the top 5 Holiday Scams You NEED to Know About!
1. Black Friday/Cyber Monday
That heavily anticipated and/or dreaded time of year when you can buy almost anything, for next to nothing! However, online scams use a variety of lures to get unsuspecting buyers to click on links or open attachments. CyberCriminals build complete copies of well-known sites, send emails promoting great deals, sell products, and take credit card information…but never deliver the goods. If it looks too good to be true…it probably is. Sites that have deals even more incredible than normal should be a red flag. Never click on links in emails, or popups with very deep discount offers (especially for watches, phones, or tablets). Go to the website yourself through your web browser, and check if the offer is legit.
2. Complimentary Vouchers or Gift Cards
A popular holiday scam every year, is big discounts on gift cards. Don’t fall for offers from retailers or social media posts that offer phony vouchers or gift cards (eg. Starbucks) paired with special promotions or contests. Some posts or emails may even appear to be shared by a friend (who may have been hacked). Develop a healthy dose of skepticism this holiday…at least in relation to online scams.
3. Bogus Shipping Notices from Canada Post, UPS, and FedEx
With the massive online shopping, comes massive shipping, and shipping scams. You will likely see emails supposedly from Canada Post, UPS or FedEx in your inbox that claim there’s a problem with your package and/or it could not be delivered. Many of these are phishing attacks that try to make you click on a link or open an attachment. If you click, your computer will be infected with a virus, or even ransomware which holds all your files hostage until you pay $500 in ransom.
4. Holiday Refund Scams
Online shopping has increased in the past years, and don’t think that hasn’t escaped the notice of CyberCriminals. Emails reportedly from retail chains or e-commerce companies such as Amazon or eBay have been received, claiming there’s a “wrong transaction” and prompt you to click the refund link. However, when you do that and are asked to fill out a form, the personal information you give out will be sold to CyberCriminals who use it against you.
5. Phishing the Dark Side
A new phishing email has already begun circulating that tricks people into thinking they could win movie tickets to the highly-anticipated movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” due out December 18. However, the email is a phishing attack. Leading up to the film’s release, and shortly after, you need to stay alert for this social engineering attack.
- Never, Ever pay online with debit cards. Only use credit cards when shopping online. Why? If the debit card gets compromised, the CyberCriminals can empty your bank account very quickly.
- Never use an insecure public Wi-Fi to shop with your credit card. Only do your online shopping with a secure connection at home.
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Check out our “Email Red Flags” for what to watch for, in suspicious emails.