During the shift to enable hybrid and work-from-home for many businesses, cybercriminals and scammers have tried to exploit every possible vulnerability they could find. Thanks to security features included with Windows 11, the window for many of their tactics is rapidly closing. Still, some old classics manage to find their way back to our hearts every holiday season, here are some notable scams to look out for.
Unexpected E-Card Greetings
Your email has an attachment that looks like an e-greeting card, pretty pictures and all. Malicious e-cards are sent by the millions, often directing you to a scammer’s website that asks for your e-mail address and password. Only sign in to websites that you trust, and use caution when clicking on links in e-mails or documents.
Fake Gift Card Sign-up
You’ll almost never find a real, worthwhile deal on Facebook, and they rarely stop criminals from impersonating legitimate brands and properties. These crooks promote fake gift cards and giveaways through social media, they really are after your information, which they then sell to other cyber criminals who use it for identity theft. A common example scam offers a complimentary $1,000 dollar Best Buy or Bed Bath and Beyond gift card to the first 20,000 people who sign up for the store fan page, which is a actually malicious copy of the original.
The Charity Tricksters
The holidays are traditionally the time for giving. It’s also the time that cyber criminals try to pry money out of people that mean well. Making donations to the wrong site could funding cybercrime or even terrorism, and will often result in a breach of your financial accounts. If a charity contacts you, it’s a good idea to verify their identity through their listed phone number or legitimate website. Only donate to charities you already know, and refuse all the rest.
Complimentary Apple Watch
This one’s tricky. Most legitimate offers for an Apple Watch usually come with huge strings attached. For example, a notable health plan offers one to millions of covered employees… but you’re not going to earn the watch unless you spend 2 hours per day exercising for over 3 years.
Watch out for the too-good-to-be-true coupons that offer complimentary watches, phones, or tablets on sites all over the Internet. Make sure the offers are from a legitimate company.
Watch out for alerts via email or text that you just received a package from FedEx, UPS or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. The vast majority of tracking numbers will not require a log-in to check.