The Christmas season is a time for joy and celebration, but it is also a time when scammers are particularly active. These criminals take advantage of this busy time and generosity of the season to trick people into giving away their personal information or money. Here’s what you need to know about these scams and how to protect yourself from them.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a type of online scam in which the attacker tries to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, by pretending to be a legitimate entity. This is typically done through email, but can also be done through other channels such as text messages or phone calls.
One common phishing tactic is to send an email that appears to be from a well-known and trusted organization, such as a bank or online retailer. The email may contain a sense of urgency or a false claim, such as saying that there is a problem with your account or that you have won a prize. The email will often contain a link or attachment that, when clicked, will take you to a fake website that looks legitimate but is actually designed to steal your information.
Another tactic is to send an email that appears to be from someone you know, such as a family member or friend. This type of phishing, known as spear phishing, is especially effective because it preys on your trust in the sender. The email may contain a message that seems urgent or important, and may ask you to click on a link or open an attachment.
What type of scams are out there?
One of the main types of scams out there are when the attacker tries to trick the victim into giving away money or other valuables. These scams can take many forms, but some common ones include fake charity solicitations, lottery scams, and fake investment opportunities.
During the Christmas season, scammers may use the theme of holiday generosity to their advantage. For example, they may send emails or make phone calls claiming to be from a charity and asking for donations. These charities may be fake or may be legitimate organizations that the scammer is using without permission. In either case, the scammer’s goal is to get you to send them money.
Another common scam during the holiday season is the fake lottery or sweepstakes. These scams may claim that you have won a large prize, but in order to claim it, you must first pay a fee or provide personal information. In reality, there is no prize and the scammer just wants to steal your money or information.
How can I protect myself?
To protect yourself from these scams and phishing attacks, it’s important to be cautious and sceptical when you receive any unsolicited communication, especially during the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
- Be wary of emails or messages that contain a sense of urgency or a false claim. Legitimate organizations will not pressure you to take action or provide personal information.
- Never click on links or open attachments in emails or messages unless you are sure they are legitimate. If you’re unsure, you can hover your mouse over the link to see the destination URL, or you can contact the sender directly to verify the authenticity of the message.
- Never give out personal information, such as your name, address, credit card number, or bank account information, unless you are sure it is safe to do so. If you’re unsure, you can contact the organization directly to verify the legitimacy of the request.
- Be cautious when making donations, especially to charities that you are not familiar with. Research the organization before giving and be aware that scammers may use the names of legitimate charities without permission.
By following these tips, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from scams and phishing attacks during the Christmas season.
If you are a business and you are unsure about any suspicious emails and need some advice please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.