Holiday Scams

"It is the night before Christmas and you're curled up cozily in your house. Not a thought of work to be had, though a stranger is working hard at their keyboard and mouse. Pleasant dreams of holiday cheer and looking forward to a happy New Year, you rest peacefully without a care - oblivious to the fact that the last email you clicked on downloaded nasty, data-stealing malware." 

It's the most wonderful time of the year - especially for scammers. At holiday time, scams increasingly circulate the web and phising attacks seem to be the gifts that keep on giving. 

Scammers don't pause during the holidays. In fact, they ramp up their schemes to take advantage of the increased shopping and distractions in hopes that you become too busy to notice them pilfering your money and personal information. 


Don't let "Scrooge" ruin your holiday season!
Here are six important threats to keep your eye out for during the holidays:

1. Fake Invoices.

With so many people to shop for, it can be hard to keep track of all the purchases you make. This presents scammers with the opportunity to create false invoices and to distribute them via email. While an unexpected receipt from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart may raise a red flag during other times of the year, you may be more susceptible during the holidays to click on links within the fake invoices and inadvertently install malware on your devices/s.


2. Fake Shipping Notification.

Just like receipts, scammers craft faux shipping notifications with the intention of getting you to install a zipped virus.


3. Email Deals.

Everyone is looking for holiday deals but not all of them are legitimate. Be wary of any promotions or deals from sellers that you have not dealth in the past and/or unknown retailers.


4. Links and URLs.

Just like the rest of the year, phishing sites are at an all-time high during the holidays. Be sure to hover over links in webpages and emails, and take a second look or two to review the URL address bar to see what site you're really visiting. This type of caution and save you from falling for a phishing attempt. 


5. Bank Accounts

Verify every purchase you make to ensure that no one is using your financial information to obtain unauthorized goods. Whether at the gas station, department store, or online store, it takes just one unauthorized purchase for you to be compromised and open the door for online attackers to drain your bank account.  


6. Fake Surveys

Scammers can often lure you into scams by promising money or gift/credit cards in return for completing a survey. At the end of the survey, they may ask you for personal information. This can be used to further pursue targeted and advanced phishing attacks.


For more information on holiday scams, or if you have any questions, please contact UMIT Security at: ciso@miami.edu or visit: security.it.miami.edu.

Thank you.