Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
Be aware of Holiday Themed Cyber Risk
You may be the person who gathers all the ads on Thanksgiving morning, planning the mission on how your family can simultaneously hit multiple stores to reap all the door-buster deals. Maybe you’re that person who scours the Internet for early leaked copies of Monday’s sales to plan your Cyber Monday strategy.
Whichever profile fits you, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming and bringing with it the cyber criminals in masses.
Criminal hackers follow the money
They track big trends and know when the biggest shopping seasons occur. Plus, like all good social engineers, they’re masters of human psychology, preying on our behavioral weaknesses to get what they want. You can bet criminal hackers are just as excited about the holiday sales season as the discount-seeking shoppers.
For that reason, it’s important you enter this holiday season with a little more awareness around the following cyber attacks:
Seasonal email phishing scams
Attackers know you have your eye out for emails containing the latest great deal, notifications for packages in transit from recent purchases and even greetings from family and friends during the holiday season. This makes it a great time for them to leverage some seasonal phishing scams to try and lure you to malicious sites or download malware. Some of the most common malicious emails during the holidays are fake UPS, FedEx, or DHL messages claiming a delivery failed, bogus flight notices and even phony secret Santa messages and e-greeting cards.
To prevent becoming a victim of a Cyber-attack:
- Go directly to the Company website to put in your account information
- Call the sender of an e-greeting card instead of replying
Fake product giveaways
Every year the holiday shopping season brings us at least one or two must-have items for the holiday season. Cyber criminals always seem to recognize these popular consumer items early, and use them to lure unsuspecting victims to their trap. While some of these giveaways may be legitimate, you should be careful where you share your information, and what type of information you’re willing to give up.
- Verify the giveaway by visiting the main website for the Company who is advertising the giveaway
Dangerous digital downloads
During any special event or holiday, malicious hackers often pull out old reliable tricks of the trade. One such trick is the free screensaver, ringtone or e-card offer. The attackers can easily theme their free download offers from whatever holiday or pop culture event is current.
- If it sounds too good to be free, it probably is. As always, be careful what you download.