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Avoid email scams during holiday periods

According to law enforcement reports across the world, there is always an increase in cyber-criminal activity during holiday seasons such as Easter and Christmas. Scams, malicious emails and phishing attacks are just some of the emails that can land in your mailbox. Let’s take a look at some you should avoid:

Social media promotions
These are designed to lure consumers into scams and phishing traps. Fake Twitter and Facebook promotions will promise a popular product at an amazing price which seems to be good to be true. The consumer won’t know that they have been tricked until long after they have submitted their credit card or payment details when it is too late to do anything.

Social media is also used to send bogus email requests from a ‘friend’ requesting money for a medical emergency and suspicious ‘new friend requests’, which contain malware links that will steal your personal information. Always independently verify any request for ‘emergency funds’ by not using the email address or phone number that you receive via a request form.

Phishing emails
These appear to come from retailers following up on recent product purchases or banks questioning purchase histories. The email will request login details or other sensitive information. Some of these emails are surprisingly deceptive, which is why so many people fall for them.

No legitimate organization will ever request your personal details over email or send you a website link to confirm account information. Never click on an links or attachments from unsolicited emails to avoid any loss of personal data.

Electronic greeting cards
If you receive any form of e-card from a person or organization you are not familiar with, be very careful what links you click on. Malware could reside below the links, so exercise extreme caution when opening emails of this type.

Charity emails
Many people enjoy making charitable donations during major holiday seasons. However, be very cautious of any email that appears to be from a charitable organization that takes you to a fraudulent website where your personal and financial information could be stolen. Ignore any emails of this type and go directly to the charity’s website to make a donation.

Job-related emails
Many job related email scams occur over holiday periods, particularly Christmas. Ignore any job opportunities that require an initial start-up fee and any recruiters/employers that request your personal or financial details before commencing your ‘employment’. It is more likely that you will end up with your personal information and money stolen.

‘Delivery charge to release packages’ emails
A delivery company never requests payment or personal information, via unsolicited email, for goods that are either in transit or being held for you. Do not respond to these emails and delete them immediately. If in doubt, contact the company directly via telephone or its website.

The best piece of advice we can offer you over holiday periods (remember different countries have different holiday periods throughout the year) is to exercise more caution when it comes to viewing emails in your inbox. If you are in any doubt, take the time to verify an email request before you act on them.