Cyber Thieves Love the Holidays
They know how busy people are and they count on people reacting to things in their emails that might normally make sense this time of the year. Here are 10 techniques / suspicious emails to watch out for to protect your business and personal computer.
1. Emails / links offering live streaming sports – once they get your email, they’ll look for additional ways to send more malicious emails, if they don’t direct you to sites with malware directly.
2. Secret Santa messages – chances are, you don’t have a secret Santa, so don’t click the link to find out who it is or what they got for you.
3. iTunes (or other) gift certificates – watch out for emails saying someone gave you a gift certificate and to click on the certificate to claim it. Check with the sender first.
4. E-cards with mismatched links – if the link in the email isn’t from the e-card company’s site (look at the domain name), it’s probably not something you should open.
5. Surveys that offer gift cards – thieves are counting on the fact that you’d like to buy more gifts or give gift cards this time of year. Filling out surveys is an easy way to get your personal information in general.
6. QR codes not on packages or point-of-purchase signage – QR codes are an easy way to hide what the link is, so you can’t determine if it’s sending you somewhere malicious by looking at the link.
7. Direct Deposit Cancellations – Thurston First Bank has noticed several of these types of emails because people are concerned about not having cash on hand for holiday shopping. Don’t click; call your bank.
8. Package Not Deliverable – if you get a message saying you’ve got a package waiting, call your local post office; don’t “print out the postage label.”
9. Fake flight confirmations / updates – these will usually involve the major airlines (like Delta or American Airlines) and will try to get you to click on a link. Call the airline.
10. Holiday Screensavers – many sites like this (holiday or otherwise) may contain malware that you’ll be downloading with your screensaver or other images.
When in doubt, be very careful opening anything where you don’t know the sender (this goes for Facebook and other social sites) and, if it seems too good to be true, verify with the sender before you click.