holiday scam art


The Top Five Holiday Cyber Scams

The holiday season is when retailers make most of their money. Cybercriminals, too.

We’re making a list (and checking it twice) of the most widely used holiday cyber scams. Have a look:

  1. Bogus e-cards. Hallmark recently got out of the electronic greeting card business, in part because they were tired of being associated with fraudulent phish campaigns. Be careful of any ecards that show up unexpectedly in your inbox. Pick up the phone and verify with the sender before you “Click Here to View Your Card.”
  2. Amazon order or shipping confirmations. Lots and lots of people do holiday gift shopping through the online retail giant. So legitimate Amazon notices are a regular thing. What’s irregular are notices that are made to look like they come from Amazon, but direct you to a malicious site. Hover over the link and make sure of the destination before you press that mouse button.
  3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Con men (and con women) have always known we’re easier to take to the cleaners when we’re all about making or saving lots of money. Excessive media hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals makes those dates a breeding ground for tech-savvy bad guys. The cliché is still valid: If it looks too good to be true, well, you know the rest.
  4. Social media shopping scams. Be wary of posts that offer gift cards or vouchers for special deals. These may well arrive from friends who are naively sharing the fraudulent link. These scams often center around online surveys: “Help us understand your shopping preferences and win a $40 gift card.” They’re trolling for identity theft.
  5. Charities that aren’t. Add nonprofits to the list of who makes most of their revenue during the holiday season. Cyber Sleazeballs know this, and often set up fraudulent charities this time of year, only to shut them down again (and count their proceeds) in January.  The FBI says, “Seasonal charity scams can pose greater difficulties in monitoring because of their widespread reach, limited duration and, when done over the Internet, minimal oversight.”

Remember, it’s still a cyber jungle out there, even during the holidays. Be careful.