The holiday season is here, and hackers love this time of year as much, if not more, than we do. Our inboxes are full of receipts, tracking numbers, travel confirmations, explanations of benefits for healthcare and social security and year-end information from businesses. Hackers are doing everything they can to access our personal information via email phishing campaigns.

Since we are clicking and ordering faster than you can say “Jingle Bells,” cybercriminals can easily catch users off guard with realistic-looking emails. With long to-do lists at work and home, this is one of the most critical times to stay vigilant against cybersecurity threats. Scams can come in many shapes and sizes. We’ve listed the most common ones below, along with ways to protect yourself and your information.


Top Holiday Scams to Avoid

1. Phony credit card fraud alerts

If you get a text or email from your bank reporting possible credit card fraud, reach out to them directly to confirm the issue. Never enter your email or password in response to an alert.

2. Charities

Hackers know people are generous this time of year, so they request donations from fake charities. Make sure the organizations you donate to are legitimate by doing a quick Google search or checking the URL.

3. Fake shipping notifications

Did you get an email that your massage chair has shipped? And you are (almost) positive you didn’t order one? Hackers love to prey on all the shopping we’re doing this season and use this tactic to trick you into clicking on malicious links such as tracking numbers.

4. Gift Cards and Giveaways

If your friend emails you asking to send them a gift card, think twice. Scammers may try to tempt you with a free prize upon entering your credit card information. Use your judgment before sharing any financial information.


Protect Yourself

1. Strong Passwords

Is it easier to use the same password for multiple accounts? Absolutely, but security needs to come before convenience when dealing with keeping your personal information protected from hackers. Hackers attempt to access your accounts by using scanning systems. If they determine one password, they can access any other account with the same credentials. It’s a smart idea to change your passwords on a regular basis.

2. Don’t click that!

If you spend time using email, you’ve probably opened a legitimate-looking (or somewhat legitimate) email from someone with a link, an attachment, or perhaps a request for your financial or personal information. For example, Amazon asks you to verify a $999 purchase on your account, or Chase needs you to update your personal information.

The bad guys are becoming better than ever in their approach and execution, making it more difficult for people to decipher legitimate emails from phishing scams. As soon as you click on a link and enter your email and password, the hacker now has access to that information. Always use judgment before clicking on an email link, and if you have the slightest feeling of suspicion, reach out to the sender’s customer service to resolve an issue.

3. Don’t use work email for personal use

Even if it’s for a quick message, avoid using your work email and computer for personal matters. Something as simple as logging into your personal email account from your work computer can attract the attention of hackers.


Stay Vigilant

By staying vigilant, you can send scammers packing while they are trying to have themselves a holiday party. Don’t click on any suspicious links or attachments, check each sender’s email address, view each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate, and monitor your credit and debit cards closely to catch suspicious activity. Contact Lutz Tech with questions regarding cybersecurity.


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