With the Easter and Passover holidays approaching, it is important to be wary of holiday-related scams.
Some of the most commonly seen scams include:
- Electronic “greeting card” software that contain malware, including ransomware;
- Compromised websites that introduce malware into your system when you visit the site;
- Travel-related deals, including holiday timeshares and vacation home rentals, which are actually scams;
- Telephone and email requests for contributions to charities, which are actually phishing attacks or simply attempts to steal your money; and
- Fake “shipping notification” emails, “delivery status notification” emails, and other phishing scams in an attempt to obtain your personal information.
Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it can be harder to quickly spot a scam email. Here are a few simple rules of thumb to help you avoid falling for a scam:
- Check not only the name of the sender of any suspicious emails, but also the email address before clicking any links or opening any attachments;
- Do not click on web links in email messages unless you know and trust the source, and confirm (typically by hovering the mouse over the link) that the link takes you to the site you expect to visit;
- Do not open attachments in emails unless they are from a trusted source, and you have confirmed that the source intended to send you the attachment;
- Be wary of anyone who tries to collect personal information about you or a family member, friend, colleague, or other contact; and
- Verify the authenticity of any charity before you donate.
Below are some additional resources that can help you enhance your security awareness and reduce your likelihood of being a victim of a scam:
- The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has published additional security tips for dealing with email attachments: Read More Here.
- US-CERT has published additional tips for avoiding social engineering and phishing attacks at their website: Read More Here.
- The Federal Trade Commission has several good links to charity research groups on their website: Read More Here.