Cyber criminals don’t take the holidays off; in fact, cyberattacks surge during the holiday season. For many Americans, the holidays are about spending time with family, resting, and celebrating the new year. For threat actors, it’s the perfect time to launch an attack.
During one of the busiest times of the year, businesses and people are prime targets as they take time off work, shop online, travel, and donate to charities. To avoid letting cyber criminals ruin your holidays, here’s what you need to watch out for:
6 Scams to Watch Out for This Holiday Season
- Gift card scams. Gift cards can be very difficult to trace, which is why scammers love them. Threat actors, posing as a legitimate source, will attempt to lure you into revealing the numbers on your gift card as a way to steal the funds. If you’re being asked to pay with a gift card, it’s likely a scam. It’s also important to ensure you’re purchasing a gift card from a reputable source, as many cyber criminals will sell fake gift cards at discounted rates. To avoid purchasing a fake or empty gift card, buy your gift cards from an actual store or retailer. When purchasing in-person, check the card to confirm the PIN hasn’t been uncovered.
- Social engineering attacks. During this busy time of year, phishing and other social engineering attacks increase. Cyber criminals launch these attacks knowing that the recipient may be too busy recognize the suspicious nature of the message or to thoroughly investigate. Many recipients click on links and open attachments because they do not take the time to look closely at the message, subject line, and sender’s address.
- Fake delivery notifications. Online shopping increases around the holidays as many avoid the rush of shopping in-person. It’s safe to assume that many people are expecting a package around this time. Threat actors take full advantage of that by sending emails and texts to unsuspecting recipients regarding their “package”. The scammer will request personal information or credit card numbers. Avoid opening any links or attachments until you have confirmed that the source is legitimate. If you’re ever unsure, never use the link provided in the message; visit the delivery company’s website directly to check on your package.
- Hacking through public Wi-Fi. You should always assume public Wi-Fi is unsecure. It’s easy for scammers to hack, and therefore, is typically a target this time of year as many are shopping online. Man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks are used to steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
- Holiday travel scams. As many people travel home for the holidays, airline scams are common. Threat actors will send fraudulent messages notifying recipients of cancelled flights or price increases. Avoid sharing any personal information or opening links and attachments; if you’re ever unsure, always contact your airline directly to confirm the legitimacy of the message.
- Fake charities. Scammers take full advantage during the season of giving. They create fake charities to lure people into revealing sensitive information and sending money. If you’re interested in making a donation, confirm the authenticity of the charity through CharityNavigator.org.
During this time of year, companies are particularly vulnerable as hackers head into the busy season and prepare for an increase in cyberattacks. Threat actors don’t take the holidays off, which means that your business must be protected 24/7/365. A Managed Services Provider (MSP) can keep your business safe and operational over the holidays.
Contact us to learn more about how Lloyd can increase your resilience against cyber threats and ensure business continuity to give you the confidence that comes from knowing your business is always secure!
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