Stay Cybersafe—Avoid Holiday Scams

Don’t give cybercriminals the gift of an easy target this holiday season. Stay off the cybersecurity naughty list by avoiding falling for these scams:

Phony Shipping Status Emails
You are likely expecting more package deliveries this time of year a fact cybercriminals seek to exploit by sending fake shipment and delivery notification emails and text messages. If you’ve ordered, something uses the tracking link from the order history on the website you made your purchase and make a note of the tracking number for your records. If you receive a delivery notification, especially one you were not expecting, go directly to the shipping services website and enter the tracking number into their online tracking page. Don’t click on the links in the email.

Related Post: Is a Criminal Intercepting your USPS Mail? 

Fake Purchase Receipts
Carefully review purchase receipt emails, cybercriminals are counting on you to click on an unexpected receipt from one of your favorite retailers attributing it to your increased shopping. Instead of being given details about your purchase you are brought to a phishing page or unwittingly install malware on your device. Check any email receipts against your banks and credit card statements or go directly to the retailer’s website to review your recent purchases.

Counterfeit Store Websites and Social Media Pages
Criminals are getting better and better at creating hoax websites and communications to fool you into clicking on links or entering your login or payment details for them to collect. These pages may look exactly like the real deal, but there are usually some clues you can check for:

  • On social media, pages look for verified accounts with the blue check
  • Make sure website is secure with the green lock and the URL starts with https
  • Type in the stores address into a search engine and access it that way instead of following links in emails

Even if you are tempted by a deal in an email or on social media remember that most legitimate deals are also available by going directly to the store’s website.

Unknown Wi-Fi Networks
Scammers take advantage of crowded malls and stores to put up fraudulent Wi-Fi systems to lure shoppers. Once you connect to these fake networks, your data and credentials can easily be stolen. Be on the lookout for generic Wi-Fi networks, which are often called “Free Public Wi-Fi” or use misspellings of legitimate store names, like “K0hls.”