holiday scamsDuring the holiday season of giving, it is also important to be aware of potential threats that could compromise your gifts, information, and finances. Stay on guard, and give and receive securely throughout the holidays. Here are five common scams to beware of this year.

Disappearing Pop-Up Stores

A disturbing trend around every big celebration is the arrival of a wave of pop-up online stores. These fly-by-night scam companies offer great deals that are often too good to refuse, or more accurately, “too good to be true.” As soon as they have your money, you never hear from them again. Often, the site you ordered from disappears completely. As a counter measure, shop only on the official sites of well established companies that you know and trust.

Black Friday Exclusions

Black Friday exclusions can be a vicious adversary, and similar scams go beyond Black Friday into the entire season. Attackers pose as organizations, providing you with a “receipt” or a “request for verification of address,” etc. In reality, they are trying to capture your information or have you download malware. If you receive notification that you need to verify an offer, do not click on any links. Rather, contact the organization through your traditional form of communication, by finding the contact information on the trusted website, and confirm the message was intended for you.

Secret Admirer Scams

A phishing effort that has been circulating since the popularization of smart phones is the “secret admirer” scam that preys on the basic human traits of romantic curiosity and loneliness. In this scam, the recipient will receive a text message stating that a secret admirer sent him or her a gift. In order to open the gift or to see who sent it, the individual has to “verify” his or her identity. Typically, these phishers are out to get hold of your login details for your bank, mobile phone network and any other service you may access off your smart device.

Charitable Donations

Continuing the tone of heartless attacks on basic humanity, there are usually a good number of false requests for charity. These scams rely on the good nature of the public and betray our sensibilities into funding a thief, instead of the actual charitable cause. It is best to donate by visiting trusted organizations’ websites like the Red Cross or an established non-profit you are familiar with.

Fake Coupons or Discounts

The biggest scam now is, of course, the fake gift voucher or product offers being circulated on social media sites. This has recently been big news in the USA, with counterfeit Target coupons offering 50% off. Clearly, such a deal would tempt many people. These scams are all centered on getting hold of your personal data. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to always do a separate search online to try to confirm the offer you have seen. Visit the official website of the organization and contact the trusted number.

Stay protected this holiday season – contact us to learn more about security awareness for your organization.

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