As the holiday season is upon us and we find ourselves spending many hours online purchasing gifts for friends and family, we rarely consider the potential threats lurking on websites. A recently published report has determined there is an increase in cyber-crime targeting holiday shoppers.
In an effort to inform our audience and clientele, we have listed 5 of the most commonly used scams. Should you encounter any of these situations, feel free to reach us immediately for assistance.
- “Special Offer” Scams
During the holiday season, online scams use a variety of methods to get unsuspecting consumers to click on links or open up attachments. Criminal website developers will create exact replicas of well-known sites, send emails promoting great deals, sell products or services and take credit card information – but will never deliver the goods or services. Sites that seem to
have unbeatable discounts, are more than likely fake. Keep in mind that when a “special offer” is too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. For example, do not click on links in emails or popups with very extensive discount offers for watches, phones or tablets. Instead visit the website yourself through your browser and check if that offer is credible.
- Free Gift Cards Or Vouchers
A favored holiday scam is discounts on gift cards. Do not accept offers from retailers or social media posts that promise free vouchers or gift cards matched with a special promotion or contest. Some of these scammers even hack friends’ pages and make it seem as if they are the ones who shared the post or email. Make sure to do substantial research on a promotion before you try to redeem it.
- Fake Courier Notices
Another technique scammers love to use is sending emails that resemble UPS and FedEx to your inbox stating that your package could not be delivered, because of some “unforeseeable reason”. A majority of these emails are phishing attacks that will try to make you open an attachment or click a link in that email, and if that happens your computer will get infected with a virus or even ransomware which holds all your computer data hostage until you pay their absurd fee to get your information back, which was discussed about in our first blog post.
- Refund Scams
In an effort to steal your personal information, you may receive fake emails from well-known retail chains or e-commerce companies, like Amazon, declaring there has been a “wrong transaction” and will advise you to click on their refund link below. If you click on the link they will ask you to fill out a form, with all your personal information, which in turn can be sold to cyber criminals. We suggest using credit card rather than a debit card, to avoid having cash withdrawn from your checking account.
- Complimentary Movie Passes
A new phishing email has begun coursing through the Internet that tricks people into thinking they could win movie tickets for highly anticipated films that come out during the holiday season. However, the email is a phishing attack, and leading up to the release of the film you must watch out for these kind of social engineering attacks and not fall for the scam.
If you believe you have been a victim of any scam, feel free to contact our office for assistance. When it comes to protecting critical information and systems, our CompleteCare solution delivers. Take advantage of our end-to-end remote monitoring, management, backup, and disaster recovery services to increase your efficiency when surfing the web. With our Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software combined with our 24/7 Network Operations center (NOC), we guarantee multiple levels of protection to safeguard your online activities from scammers and fraudulent emails.