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Top 4 Email and Online Scams To Avoid This Holiday Season Blog Feature
Courtney Casey

By: Courtney Casey on November 20th, 2018

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Top 4 Email and Online Scams To Avoid This Holiday Season

Cyber Security

Ready or not, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, signals the start of the holiday season and many people will be looking for the best deals online. While you are shopping for the perfect gift and trying the get the lowest prices, the scammers are ready to pounce. They're using the same old tactics they've been using for years, but guess what? They still work. 

Here are four scams to avoid this holiday season:

Be on the lookout for fake emails from shipping providers like UPS and FedEx.

With friends and family mailing gifts to one another, it’s likely that you and your employees will receive notifications from carriers, such as UPS or FedEx, notifying you that a package has been delivered.

Whether you were expecting something or not, the intrigue will cause most people to read the message and try to find out what it might be.

Is it the gift I ordered for my wife? Or maybe it’s the gifts Grandma sent?

Scammers capitalize on this intrigue by asking you to give them information that may be used to steal your identity, or by deploying viruses onto your network when you click links or attachments.

Be extra careful when clicking on links or attachments in emails this season, and think twice before you provide information to anyone on the Internet.

Check that "resume" attachment.

Another email scam to be aware of, especially if you’re looking for seasonal help or if you have active job listings, is an email where the hackers disguise themselves as prospective employees.

The email indicates that there is a resume attached for your review. The “resume” they have attached is not really a resume, but a ZIP file and, when you open it, your computer becomes infected with ransomware. (Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts and holds your files hostage until you pay the ransom, or restore the files from your backup.)

This one is tricking many employees due to the volume of resumes they likely receive.

Be on high alert for attachments that are ZIP, EXE, or DOCM files, and do not open them unless you have confirmed with the sender that they are legitimate.

Be safe on eBay and other online marketplaces.

The third is related to online sales and purchases. Online safety should always be considered, but the holidays are prime time for scams.

eBay and other online marketplaces are a great place to find bargains on new and used goods, but you can encounter some shady characters.

One year I sold an electronic item on eBay and was nearly scammed myself. The buyer did such a good job at sending me emails that looked like eBay’s emails, that I nearly sent my item to Nigeria without payment.

Watch employees doing online shopping on company time.

The forth one isn’t a scam in the sense that someone has malicious intent, but it is something for business owners to consider. 

Your business likely has employees who will want to make purchases online in preparation for their holiday celebrations. Have you ever tried to make a quick purchase, only to have it become a 45-minute ordeal?

If you don’t want online shopping taking place on your network or your dime, consider implementing a web filter to limit your employees’ online activities.

If you’re concerned about your company’s cyber security or the results you’re getting from the IT function of your business, chat with a trusted IT Consultant to make sure you’re in good shape this holiday season.

Access this on-demand webinar to find out if you are making decisions that unknowingly increasing your risk for cyber crime.

Cyber Security Blind Spots Webinar


About Courtney Casey

In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.