You would think that the holidays bring out the best in us all. I mean, who can resist holiday food, a roaring fire, the gift giving spirit and…committing…online…cyber…scams? Yup. The holidays are a candy cane covered playground of cyberattack opportunities. Let’s break down four of the most common scams to help you prepare yourself for the inevitable and keep that Holiday present money safe and sound.
Sliding in at Number 1) Online Shopping Deals!
The old adage stands, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” My favorite story regarding this came out of this holiday season, when a few hundred people bought a brand new PS5 off of Ebay for a “great price,” only to have it turn out to be a photograph of the item on a piece of white printer paper. Buy from companies you know and trust, and that $100 most recent gen IPhone isn’t real. There wasn’t a surprise overstocking issue. Everything. Does. Not. Have. To. Go.
Numero 2) Charity or Donation Requests
You read that right. Even in the most innocent of places, scammers can pop up and surprise you. The rule of thumb is this – if you want to donate, do so through the actual website of the charity that you are donating to. Generally, anyone calling you or e-mailing you and asking you for your credit card information, let’s just say, isn’t a stand-up citizen.
Annndd Number 3) Delivery or Shipment Notifications
No. Your long-lost relative didn’t send you a Peloton Bike. Even if you ARE waiting for deliveries, check and double check your delivery and shipment notifications. They are often used as phishing opportunities. Go directly to the website where you ordered your item and track its shipping there – not through a tracking e-mail.
Last, but Most Definitely Not Least, Number 4) Fake Receipts of Financial Statements
People were doing most of their holiday shopping online BEFORE COVID-19. Now? That number has skyrocketed. Almost everyone will be expecting receipts and financial statements to be flooding their inboxes. I know this, you know this, and so do the cyberattackers. It is best to check your receipts directly on the company in question’s website.
Added Bonus Tip
In the spirit of the Holidays, we can’t help but to keep on giving. So, one more tip before we go, (and this one is a biggie): Always remember to never click on links or open attachments in an e-mail that you weren’t expecting! We promise, whatever the surprise is, its not a good one.