As Halloween is fast approaching, we can expect go to bed with tummy aches from all the candy, but we’ll wake up with the excitement for the holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations will start covering people’s front yards, and families will start making plans to come together and celebrate.
While our spirits are high with the changing of the seasons, our guards are usually down, but we need to keep in mind that the tricks and surprises won't stay in October.
With the holiday season upon us, the ghosts of Halloween may still linger
The holidays are the busiest time of the year for many people, and that doesn’t exclude cyber-criminals. Cyber-crime attempts such email phishing, spear phishing, and other scams will be disguised in shiny packages and bows to trick consumers.
As we start looking for the best deals for our Thanksgiving dinners and building our Christmas wish lists, we remember that even though it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the time of the year of the highest rates phishing attacks.
Wait, What are Phishing Attacks Again?
Phishing attacks and other scams are the attempt to acquire personal data, such as banking information, internet credentials, and more by disguising themselves as someone we can trust.
Some common examples are emails from banks that alert you to take immediate action, or from widely used and known companies like
UPS, FedEx, or Amazon, providing you with an attachment or link to view an invoice or provide account information.
Phishing attacks are not limited to emails; they happen across a multitude of platforms, including social media, direct phone calls, and even mail. Poor judgement, lack of knowledge, and poor security measures are a few of their favorite things.
Some of the Most Common Holiday Phishing Attacks:
- Emails from places like Wal-mart, Amazon, Fed Ex, or UPS, claiming to have shipping information or invoices.
- Places offering to-good-to-believe discounts. Whether it be via email, mail, phone calls, or social media.
- Emails or other messages that contain attachments or links that claim to have information that is important for you to look over or provide.
Attacks using Amazon, American Express, Ebay, and PayPal brands were the highest during last year’s holiday season.
With social media being such a large platform to share information, don’t be surprised to see scammers hiding behind fake businesses and profiles.
You can protect yourself and your holiday cheer by knowing how to determine phishing attacks and other scams apart from real ones. If something doesn’t look right, trust your gut and do further investigating before gifting someone with the keys to your bank account or personal information.
Nightmares Before Christmas to Beware Of:
- Messages that create a sense of urgency.
- Offers for big savings and free shipping.
- Incorrect grammar or spelling.
- Generalized greetings.
- Spoofed email addresses or phone numbers.
- Links that don't direct you to where they claim they will.
- Attachments that claim to have billing or shipping information.
- Emails or posts on social media with intriguing headlines about entertainment, political, or world news.
Some of the most successful scams are the ones that promise discounts and discounted or free shipping, like the Elvis shoes I tried buying from the Laid Back Loot site. If you fall for a scam like that, you are guaranteed to have a blue, blue Christmas. Don't be caught in the trap of the holiday hacks, protect yourself and your holiday cheer.
If you have further concerns of scams and phishing attacks, don't be afraid to ask us! Call us today for a free Network Vulnerability Scan & Network Audit.