With the holiday period approaching, it is important to talk about Christmas Cyber Security Scams. A lot of us are panicked and frantic in December while we scramble to finish our Christmas Shopping. This can make us vulnerable to various holiday scams designed by fraudsters to take advantage of the vulnerable. According to a Cybersecurity Report published by Mc Afee in 2019, over 30% people in Europe had fallen victims to holiday scams last year.
1) Discounts and Rewards
Here, we’re talking about the pop-up messages, links, and forwarded messages with ‘Too good to be true offers’ like a ‘75% discount on iPhone’ or competitions for ‘€500 Nike Giftcard’. These pop-ups will ask you to ‘hurry’, click or sign up immediately. While a lot of brands and stores will have discounts and offers throughout December and January, it is important we only click on links if the email is directly coming from the brand.’
- Always slow down the interaction, check the source and destination of the message before taking any action.
- Hover over the link to read the URL in order to verify the destination of the link.
- Consider going directly to the company website to verify instead of clicking on any links.
2) Shipping Notifications
Since, many of us are shopping online this COVID Christmas, it is important to be vary of any messages and emails with shipping or tracking information for online orders. Always follow the same principal of checking the source and verifying on the company website.
3) Charity Scams
Since it’s the season of giving, a lot of us like to donate during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, a lot of fraudsters take advantage of this and set up fake social media profiles and websites to collect money from innocent people. To make sure you’re donating to legitimate charities, use the Charities Regulator to verify and find online charities.
The last couple years saw a huge increase in Malware E-Cards which can potentially damage your device and steal your personal data. It is important to always be vary of the source of these ‘Holiday Greetings’ attachments.
5) Competition Scams
A lot of companies like us run social media competitions during the holiday period. Fraudsters take advantage of this and create fake profiles on social media to get your personal details. Never give out your personal or financial information on social media under any condition. If in doubt, reach out to the company directly through phone or email.
The key to prevent holiday scams is to stay aware and be cautious. You can also keep yourself updated with the latest cyber fraud by following FraudSmart. If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your financial institution immediately.