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Holiday Cyber Scams

December 2021


Many plan to shop online despite the concern they may become victims of cyber-scams.

Brian Banks

During last year's Black Friday to Cyber Monday holiday weekend, more than 124 million consumers chose to make their purchases in-store. In 2021, as we continue to deal with COVID-19, many have shifted direction, shopping more and buying what they need through their devices. Hackers know and follow these statistics as well. Gift-card scams, fake websites, fake discount codes and of course fake emails remain top methods being utilized by cyber criminals.

The following are tips for you to use during the Holidays.

1. Make sure that your phone and computers are up to date before going online. This can offer more protection against viruses and malware.

2. Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks. Attackers can steal personal data exchanged on such networks.

3. Think twice if something looks like a potential scam. Be aware of the indicators such as payment only through wire transfer or gift cards.

4. This is the time when tickets to events may be on the higher side. If you find vendors who sell the same tickets for a significantly lower rate, remember that this is the time a lot of counterfeit tickets are being sold.

5. If you find products at low rates on websites that you’ve not heard of, beware of scams that make you pay and don’t deliver anything.

6. Opt for payment via credit card than a debit card for more security.

7. If you’re shopping for digital gift cards, always prefer trusted merchants. Check for cards that have pins at the back uncovered then recovered.

8. Change your passwords across all accounts. Use unique and strong passwords that aren’t easy to guess.

9. Stay abreast of charity scams. Before donating anything, do some research to ensure that the donations are indeed going to legitimate non-profits.

10. Social engineering scams are quite popular during this time of the year. If you find a deal that is too good to be true, it probably is.

11. Beware of links and attachments that promise the final chance of buying the perfect gift.

12. Monitor bank and card statements for unauthorized transactions. In case there is something suspicious, report it right away.

- Brian Banks, Internal Information Security Officer



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