Many of us are familiar with the most common cons this time of year, but as a cybersecurity provider, we want to alert you and your work colleagues to some lesser-known holiday scams. Be cyber-aware this season and have happier holidays.
1. Social Media Gift Exchange Scams
Scammers on social media platforms promote gift exchanges where you send one gift and receive several in return. However, participants often end up empty-handed, and personal information is harvested. Make sure you do your gift exchange in person with work colleagues or friends over a happy hour.
2. Fake Travel Deals
During the holiday season, scammers offer incredible travel deals that seem too good to be true. They may create fake booking websites or send phishing emails, stealing your money and personal information. As you plan to go over the river and through the woods this year, make sure to book only with companies that have an excellent reputation. One way to verify is by checking for reputable online reviews.
3. E-card Malware
While online greeting cards, or e-cards, are popular, some cybercriminals send e-cards embedded with malware. Clicking on the link to view the card can result in malware infecting your device. Even if it comes from your best friend, just appreciate the thought but do not click.
4. Temporary Holiday Jobs Scams
Scammers post fake job listings for seasonal employment opportunities, requesting personal information for a background check. As a cybersecurity provider, we know these scams can lead to identity theft. Some are so real they answer your questions when you correspond with them. Another job scam is requiring you to use a certain software (for a fee) to convert your resume into a document that will be compatible with the hiring company’s software.
5. Fake Charitable Donations
Fraudsters create fake charity websites or emails, asking for donations to help the less fortunate during the holidays. Research charities before donating to ensure your money goes to a legitimate cause. If you give online, always start with the charity’s verified website.
6. Puppy Scams
We love puppies! But as a cybersecurity provider, we hate seeing people get conned. With this scam, in-demand puppies are advertised online, especially during the holidays. Scammers ask for upfront payments, but the puppy doesn’t exist, or it’s of poor health and conditions. Look to a local shelter if you want to adopt an animal. Costs are minimal and you are helping your community. Some even allow you to be a foster parent so you can learn the temperament of the animal.
7. Rental Scams
Planning a holiday get together with friends and family? Beware: Scammers list fake holiday rentals on legitimate websites, asking for upfront payments or deposits. When victims arrive at their destination, they find out they have no place to stay. Make sure to rent through reputable websites. Although even AirBnb and VRBO have scammers, at least they will make sure you have alternative accommodations.
8. Shipping Notification Scams
As online shopping keeps growing and our lives get busier, this scam is especially effective. Here’s how it works: You receive an email or text claiming a package delivery failed and asks you to click on a link to reschedule. It may look very official and claim to be from FedEx, UPS or the postal service. But clicking the link can download malware or lead to phishing websites. If you did not ship anything, do not click. If you are waiting on a delivery, track it directly through the original retailer’s website or the shipping service.
9. Flash Sale Scams
Scammers create fake websites offering exclusive holiday deals. After making a purchase, the product never arrives, and your credit card information is misused. A big reason to use a major credit card and not your debit card when online shopping? Most major credit card companies will guarantee your purchase.
10. Inherited Money Scams
Some scammers send emails claiming you’ve inherited a large sum of money from a distant relative. To access the inheritance, they ask for your banking information, leading to financial theft. A cybersecurity provider tip: Never under any circumstances give your bank account information to anyone asking online.
Need a Cybersecurity Provider?
Remember, the best defense against these scams is awareness. Be cautious, verify the authenticity of offers, double-check website URLs and never share sensitive information online or over the phone unless you are certain of the recipient’s identity.
Don’t let scams put you in a Scrooge state of mind. Just exercise caution. And if your business and your employees would like to feel better protected, let’s talk about BrightFlow services as a cybersecurity provider.