Each year during the winter holiday season, phishing scams crowd inboxes and trick many people into giving away their data and information to cyber-criminals on the naughty list. These scams can be incredibly sophisticated and look nearly identical to valid sales emails.
The holiday season is an excellent time for scammers because we’re distracted by all the flashy images and colors, so it’s easier for them to slip a fake link into an email.
Just because scammers are doubling their efforts doesn’t mean you need to take any crazy steps to avoid their scams, you can keep finding great deals and avoid giving away your precious data to phishers. All you need to do is know what you should look for to verify those huge sales are real.
We’ve gathered a few of the top email phishing scams you should be wary of this Christmas.
Christmas Themed Emails
You’ve probably already guessed we would include Christmas themed emails in our list. Fake deals are commonplace, but you should also be on the lookout for event announcements you are unfamiliar with.
Scammers are sending out “invites” for fake charity events packed with data-stealing malware that ask you to donate early or enter your information.
These emails are well designed and formatted to seem legitimate. The best way to spot this type of phishing attempt is by double checking you have any connection to such a charity first, then looking for red flags such as odd generic titles and links like “Christmas menu”, “shopper’s survey” or “1 click and you’re done” links.
If it seems too easy or too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
Unexpected Package Delivery Notices
Two-day delivery is a gift in itself. However, delivery notifications can be a bit of a nightmare. Scammers use this to their advantage by creating fake delivery emails.
You’ll want to watch out for any unexpected delivery email, and especially those that ask you to pay any sort of customs fee, say an order has been canceled and you need to act quickly, or click any tracking links.
Fake Payroll Emails
The holidays can take a heavy toll on your spending, and in true Griswald fashion we all wish we could pad our wallets with a little extra cash.
Once again, scammers take advantage of our vulnerabilities. You should keep an eye out for any emails with unexpected titles like “Annual Bonus”, “Christmas Incentive”, etc. We advise never opening or responding to any payroll emails unless you’re expecting a message from someone you’ve met before, or it’s through an official documented source like your HR department.
Stay Safe Online
Catching fake phishing emails inside your inbox is one way to stay safe online, but there are others. Public Wi-Fi and unsecured websites are other places where scammers can catch you unaware. Check out our other holiday shopping safety tips to learn more.
Friendly PC makes security second nature. If you’re feeling vulnerable, get in touch to see how our team of specialists can help you stay safe online.