Holiday Scams and Cyber Attacks
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people will be shopping online this year than before. However, this can be problematic as hackers and cybercriminals are upping their game to take advantage of this situation.
If you want to be safe online during the holiday season, you will need to take precautionary steps to maximize your security and anonymity. But most importantly, you will need to educate yourself about some common holiday scams and cyber-attacks. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry, right? Without further ado, let’s take a look at some holiday scams and cyber-attacks you need to be wary of.
With people being stuck at home during the ongoing pandemic, a vacation sounds like a faraway dream. Some of the said people will probably book a trip, but they will receive a notice informing them that their booking has been canceled. The email notification will also provide a form to get a refund. However, the form is malicious in nature and is designed to capture personal information.
Another travel scam involves free air tickets from legitimate airlines. The only requirement is for users to share a link to the offer on their social media accounts. Here’s where the problem lies: the link redirects users to a phishing site where scammers are eager to get their hands on personal information.
To avoid such scams, you will need to check the sender’s address for emails you may be interested in. Make sure the email domain points to Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc., and the site you are being redirected to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Remember, avoid entering any personal information on third-party websites or apps. Also, stay clear of unknown social media requests.
Coupon/Gift Card Scam
Coupons and gift cards are easy money for hackers and cybercriminals, which is why it remains popular to this day. As more people shop online these days, scammers will use coupons and gift cards to steal personal information from unsuspecting users. This scam involves creating a sense of urgency by offering a great deal on a product or several products, and the only way to pay for them is via gift cards.
To avoid getting into a fix, stay clear of coupons offering great discounts and deals on popular products. Scammers trick potential victims into visiting spoofed landing pages, which is where they are asked to enter their credit card details, and so on. For this reason, avoid giving any private and confidential information to someone you do not know or trust through a webpage you cannot verify.
Charity frauds trick people into believing they are donating money to charities. On the contrary, scammers lure unsuspecting victims to donate to charities that do not even exist in the first place. This year, charity frauds will see an increase, as scammers will exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to convince people to donate to charities related to the coronavirus.
The only way to avoid this scam is by checking the charity in question thoroughly. Legitimate and legal charities are registered, meaning you can verify organizations using a public database. Additionally, avoid responding to emails asking for money upfront.
Fraudulent Shipping Notifications
Last but not least, fraudulent shipping notifications will be aplenty this holiday season. Hackers and cybercriminals will do their best to steal private and confidential information via phishing emails that impersonate shipping notifications. These emails could include links to other pages that could trick users into entering their personal details. The email could also come with attachments with hidden malware that steal data, install ransomware, or capture your keystrokes.
To avoid this scam, you will need to avoid opening emails from unknown senders. Do not click on any links, and be wary of emails from generic domains like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.
You now know of some of the most common holiday scams and cyber attacks that could occur this holiday season. Moreover, you also know how to overcome these scams and cyber attacks, but if you want to take things up a notch, you should get a secure and private VPN, like Ivacy VPN.
How Ivacy VPN helps is that it replaces your original IP with a masked IP. Furthermore, it will be next to impossible for hackers and cybercriminals to steal your private and confidential information with military-grade encryption that you get with Ivacy VPN. On the flip side, you can also use Ivacy VPN to enjoy true internet freedom, increased bandwidth, defeat ISP throttling, save money by shopping in different regions, and much more!