While the holiday season brings plenty of sweet treats and cheer, it also brings an increase in cybercrime. There are several ways cybercriminals try to trick holiday shoppers, such as sending phishing emails with fake deals, selling bogus gift cards at discounted rates, or creating scam donation campaigns. Stay safe online this holiday season and look out for these common cybercrime tricks:
Look out for holiday phishing emails
Phishing is when a scammer sends a fraudulent email trying to get you to click a bad link or provide personal information. With the influx of holiday emails, many online shoppers are more likely to click scammy email links or donate to fake charities. Scammers will send phishing emails that take shoppers to look-alike websites — once shoppers enter their login information, scammers will use it to gain access to real accounts. Other cybercriminals may try to trick generous people into donating to fake charities or causes.
It’s important to be mindful of a few things as you prepare for this holiday shopping season:
- Don’t click on suspicious links, especially in emails you weren’t expecting
- Log into accounts on your browser, not through links in your email
- Do your research before donating to any charity or cause
Shop safely online
The convenience of online shopping isn’t without risks, but you can be a smart shopper by learning how to avoid cybercrime and shop safely. It’s important to make sure you’re shopping on a secure website, not chasing bogus deals, and not oversharing your personal information as you shop.
A smart online shopper:
- Verifies the security of a website. Scammers create fake websites to try to get people’s personal information or sell knockoff items. Smart shoppers make sure they have a secure connection by double-checking the URL to look for an https or the green padlock.
- Knows when “deals” are too good to be true. When smart shoppers find items selling for crazy low prices, they know it’s most likely a scam and head to a more reputable website. They also are highly skeptical of the phishy deals in their inboxes, and they think before they click!
- Uses strong passwords and doesn’t give away all their personal info. When creating online accounts, smart shoppers use strong passwords and don’t give out any more info than they have to in order to make a purchase.
Avoid public wi-fi
Never access personal information while on public wi-fi. Cybercriminals love to lurk on public networks and wait for victims to log in to important accounts or make purchases. It’s better to wait to purchase items or enter personal information online until you’re on a secure network, like your home network or a VPN (virtual private network).
Don’t fall for gift card scams
There are many gift card scams during the holidays. It’s always better to avoid resell websites offering cards for less than face value. When you shop on resell sites, there isn’t a guarantee you’ll get what you paid for. To avoid getting scammed, buy gift cards from reputable sellers!
Regardless of how you online shop this holiday season, you can rest assured that Nextep takes data security seriously. From achieving our SOC 1®, Type 2 designation to regularly conducting internal data security training, we work hard to keep your sensitive data safe.
For more information about how Nextep can help elevate and enrich your business experience, give us a call — we’d love to chat!