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Christmas Scams

Layer 8 Security is warning everyone to be wary of scammers trying to ruin their Christmas holidays.

Scammers often try to take advantage of people during the busy Christmas period and prey on our vulnerabilities at this time of year. For example, they may take advantage of you looking for a good deal on a family holiday, searching for a loved one’s presence at an online store, or even that you’re expecting a present from someone through the post.

Another reason that scammers attack at this time of the year is that everyone is busy trying to get their work completed before the holiday season and subsequently, people attitudes change. Attitudes are often relaxed as the festive season causes a change in focus towards parties, Christmas present purchases, holidays, and time away from work spent with family and friends.

Watch out for three common holiday season scams:

  • Travel scams: scammers trick their victims into believing they’ve won a travel prize or scored a really good deal on a travel package, like a cruise. Unfortunately, these seemingly too-good-to-be-true holidays are nothing more than a scammer’s con.
  • Online shopping scams: scammers will set up believable looking online stores to trick people into goods that don’t really exist. They might also set up fake online classified or auction site listings. They entice people with legitimate looking discounts and may even advertise items as the perfect Christmas present for a loved one.
  • Parcel delivery scams: with millions of packages moving across the country to get under a Christmas tree in time, scammers will send fake missed delivery or “upcoming delivery” notices to potential victims. These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware or ransomware onto their PCs, which can be costly to remove; or steal their personal information.

Your personal information is often just as valuable to a scammer as your money so always be careful about the information you give out online.

There are some simple tips you can follow to stay ahead of scammers these holidays.

  1. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research on any online stores you’re using, especially if it’s for the first time.
  2. Never do a deal or make a payment outside the online auction site you are using.
  3. If you are buying from a classified website only hand over the money when you have physically inspected the goods.
  4. Finally, never open attachments or download files you receive out of the blue—no matter who the email comes from or how legitimate it looks.
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