Be on the lookout for Cyber Crimes
As the Holiday season quickly approaches, so does the increase in Cyber Crimes. Cyber Crimes are criminal offenses committed over the Internet or otherwise aided by various forms of computer technology. Be on the lookout for Cyber Crimes. Some of the most popular ones seen right now are described below.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday Specials This time of year, online scams use a variety of lures to get unsuspecting buyers to click on links or open attachments. Bad guys build complete copies of well-known sites, send emails promoting great deals, sell products and take credit card information – but never deliver the goods. Sites that seem to have incredible discounts should be a red flag. Remember that when a “special offer” is too good to be true, it usually is. For instance, never click on links in emails or popups with very deep discount offers for watches, phones or tablets. Go to the website yourself through your browser and check if that offer is legit.
- Complimentary Vouchers or Gift Cards A popular holiday scam is big discounts on gift cards. Don’t fall for offers from retailers or social media posts that offer phony vouchers or gift cards paired with special promotions or contests. Some posts or emails even appear to be shared by a friend whose account may have been hacked. Develop a healthy dose of skepticism and “Think Before You Click” on offers or attachments with any gift cards or vouchers.
- Bogus Shipping Notices From UPS and FedEx You are going to see emails that appear to come from UPS and FedEx in your inbox that claim your package has a problem and/or could not be delivered. Many of these are phishing attacks that try to make you click on a link or open an attachment. However, what happens is that your computer becomes infected with a virus or even ransomware which holds all your files hostage until you pay in ransom.
- Holiday Refund Scams These emails seem to come from retail chains or e-commerce companies such as Amazon or eBay claiming there’s a “wrong transaction” and prompt you to click the refund link. However, when you do that and are asked to fill out a form, the personal information you give out will be sold to cyber criminals who use it against you. It is recommended to never pay online with a debit card, only use credit cards. If the debit card gets compromised, the scammers can empty your bank account quickly.
- Phishing on the Dark Side A new phishing email has begun circulating that tricks people into thinking they could win movie tickets for the highly-anticipated film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” due out on Dec. 18. However, the email is a phishing attack. Leading up to the film’s release, and shortly after, you need to watch out for this social engineering attack and not fall for the scam.
- BONUS TIP: Never use an insecure public Wi-Fi to shop with your credit card. Only shop with a secure connection at home. Stay safe online and the holidays.