Don’t Fall for these Holiday Scams
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns shoppers to be alert to holiday scams and malicious cyberattacks this holiday season. According to the agency, criminals may send fraudulent emails or e-cards with malicious links or attachments. Learn from us how you can detect and avoid holiday shopping scams, and better protect your identity and finances. Don’t fall for these holiday scams this season.
Too Good to be True Gift Scams
We begin with the most obvious holiday scam, the “too good to be true” scam. That “it” gift, you’ll know it by the high demand, low supply, and inflated eBay prices. Almost on cue, websites will pop up offering the rare widget at an unbelievably low price. Don’t fall for this! Unfortunately, you did not win a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox. The advertiser likely doesn’t have the product and is using the offer to harvest personal information or payment through PayPal.
Holiday E-card danger
Everyone has seen them, e-greeting cards with little elves who have familiar faces, dancing around in a hilarious song and dance. Almost everyone with an email address will receive these little Flash programs spreading holiday cheer. Unfortunately, scammers have designed some that can install data-leaching programs on your computer and do untold damage. Don’t click links in emails unless you know the sender. Even then, if something looks out of the ordinary, it could be a sign that the sender’s identity has been compromised (might be a good idea to let them know).
This threat is very real and one we see exploited all the time during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Scammers will target hotel visitors, coffee shop patrons, and other users of public Wi-Fi with pop-ups that request the installation of a foreign program (i.e., data-stealing malware) before connecting to a network. Ask yourself if using public Wi-Fi is worth the risk. Using public Wi-Fi to access bank accounts or other sensitive info is never a good idea. If you do choose to use public Wi-Fi, remember that you should not have to install anything.
Fake Charity Scam
It’s a sad but true fact that bad actors are not above taking advantage of your goodwill. We see fake charities crop up every time there’s a major disaster, COVID-19 for example. But they also appear around the holidays on a large scale. Don’t fall for these holiday scams. Emails and phone calls from organizations with familiar-sounding names will ask you to open your wallets for a good cause. To be safe, do not give to any charity with whom you didn’t initiate contact.
Phony Package Delivery Notices
This one is particularly sneaky. Scammers and Hackers know you’ll receive unexpected packages this season. They will send realistic-looking delivery failure notifications, tricking you to follow up and reveal personal info. Before you hand over information on the internet, head to your local post office, or call the delivery service to verify the notification.