Holiday Cyber Scams to Avoid in 2024

Many people enjoy spending time with their loved ones over the holidays and participating in the custom of exchanging gifts. Unfortunately, this time of year turns into a haven for cybercriminals who create fresh plans all the time to steal personal data using techniques like malware infections and phishing emails. CyberGhost reports a 40% increase in cyberattacks linked to the holidays.

Recent studies suggest businesses that are targeted during this time face a notable 19% increase in revenue losses. So, we’ll look at some of the riskiest cyber-holiday scams and think about simple solutions to protect your data from dishonest online predators. Even as you begin your holiday shopping, con artists are getting ready.

Potential traps can be found behind alluring deals. Cyber scams soar, with an 82% increase in fraud attempts from Black Friday to Cyber Monday and Christmas. When searching for deals, be mindful of these five lesser-known frauds. Learn about their history to help you avoid trouble when you go shopping. This is a year-round guide to stay scam-aware, not just a seasonal alert.

10 Holiday Cyber Scams to Avoid in 2024

Be on your guard this vacation season. Protect yourself from phishing, fake online stores and fraudulent vacation offers. Stay vigilant to ensure a safe and secure digital shopping experience.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi poses security risks due to its lack of authentication requirements, making it susceptible to unauthorized access, including by cybercriminals. These individuals can position themselves between you and the connection point, gaining access to the data you transmit through the hotspot.

It is advisable to steer clear of public Wi-Fi networks lacking password protection, as they are considered less secure. If you find it necessary to use such networks, consider activating a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to add an extra layer of protection. A VPN conceals your IP address and online activities. Additionally, exercising caution is recommended when using public computers for online shopping, booking flights, making card transactions, or logging into personal accounts.

Fake Shipping Notification Scams

A prevalent form of social engineering deception employed by cybercriminals involves a counterfeit shipping notification scam. In this scheme, the perpetrator sends a message via email or SMS, posing as a reputable shipping service such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL. The communication urges the recipient to “arrange delivery” for their package and includes a hyperlink leading to a phishing website. This deceptive site aims to infiltrate the user’s device with malware, seeking to compromise personal information and potentially facilitate identity theft.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams continue to be a prevalent threat in the digital landscape. In contrast to authentic businesses sending eleventh-hour promotional emails to customers, cybercriminals employ deceptive tactics by dispatching emails featuring counterfeit products at exceptionally discounted rates.

The primary goal is to lure individuals into clicking on links that direct them to phishing websites. Additionally, scammers may employ tactics such as coaxing recipients to open malevolent email attachments, thereby introducing malware to their devices. This malicious approach creates a gateway for cybercriminals to pilfer sensitive personal information from unsuspecting victims.

Beware of Phishing Scams

Christmas shoppers should remain vigilant as they are often the target of phishing scams. It’s important to recognize the signs of a phishing scam, such as urgent requests and unknown attachments. Studies show that 80-95% of cyberattacks come from malicious actors initiating phishing attempts.

The mailing email scam is particularly prevalent during the holiday shopping season. If you receive an email that appears to be from a retailer, be cautious and do not open any attached files or links as they are likely to contain malware. Stay vigilant to protect yourself from potential cyber threats.

Fake Websites

Fake or phishing websites pose a significant risk to consumers. Cyber attackers often develop “eCommerce” platforms that are designed for search engine optimization and offer products at temptingly low prices to deceive unsuspecting shoppers. Once the victim provides their payment information, these hackers meticulously record the details and then use them for identity theft and future fraudulent transactions.

Gift Card Scams

Attackers may send emails to their victims claiming they have won or received a gift card during the holiday season, when gift card use is prevalent. However, they’ll say you have to pay a shipping fee or provide your personal information in order to claim it. If you come across a message like this, keep in mind that reputable businesses won’t request payment in order to give you a gift card.

Fake Social Media Promotions

Fraudsters are aware that many shoppers enjoy searching social media for deals. They frequently create fictitious online profile pages and advertise products at lower than average prices in an attempt to entice customers to make purchases. The owner of the phoney store can take the payment details once the victim gives them over and use them to make purchases elsewhere. These kinds of attacks are common; in 2020, reports of scams involving online purchases accounted for 38.3% of all scams.

Job Offer Scams

In December’s buoyant job market, opportunistic scammers are taking advantage of increased job seeker activity. These unscrupulous individuals pose as recruiters and deceive applicants by asking for personal information or, in some cases, demanding payment for alleged training materials. If you receive a job offer during this peak season, you should be cautious and verify the authenticity of the offer by contacting the company through its official communication channels.

A startling 56.5% of emails this year out of 122.33 billion sent every day globally were categorised as spam. Cybercriminals frequently use the technique of sending out phoney emails or texts that have links that take recipients to dangerous websites. It is imperative to use caution and avoid clicking on links in emails that come from senders you are not familiar with.

Use your email provider’s reporting feature as soon as possible to flag an email that seems suspicious, either because of its sender or its content, so you can examine its contents later. Furthermore, social engineering scams are very common around the holidays. Scammers frequently pose as agents of banks or credit card companies and call people to report suspicious transactions.

In these situations, it’s best to hold off on engaging right away. Rather, end the call and confirm on your own that you are speaking with a legitimate representative of the financial institution by calling the number on the back of your card.

Tech Support Scams

Scams involving tech support are increasing in frequency during the holidays. An attacker will use your mobile device to call you or send you an email in order to carry it out. They will inform you about device problems while posing as tech support agents from respectable companies. But they’ll ask for remote access to your computer so they can assist you in fixing the problem. Some may even demand payment for the services rendered. Recall that an authentic tech support provider won’t get in touch with its clients if they don’t want to.

6 Holiday Cyber Tips to Stay Safe in 2024

As we enter the holiday season, stay safe online in 2024. Be vigilant against phishing scams, use strong, unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication and keep your devices up to date. Protect your digital celebrations and spread joy without compromising your cyber security.

Use Strong Passwords for Your Accounts

Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report has revealed a worrying trend: 81% of security breaches involved compromised or inadequate passwords. Protecting your online accounts is of paramount importance, and a crucial step in this regard is adopting solid password practices.

Avoid easily recognizable passwords such as “12345” or “abcdef”. Nowadays, many platforms recommend using a mix of letters, numbers and symbols to increase the resilience of your password. It is advisable to spread your passwords across different accounts to ensure that a security breach in one account does not compromise the security of the others.

To Use Credit Card

Whether you’re shopping or making travel arrangements online, credit cards work better than debit cards for online transactions. You can easily cancel your credit card and get a new one if your information is stolen in a data breach. Neither the hacker’s access to your account nor any fraudulent charges will fall under your responsibility.

In order to avoid being held accountable for any unauthorised access, we advise selecting one zero-liability protection when applying for a credit card. This kind of security is not provided by debit cards. Your bank account might be swiftly emptied by hackers if they manage to obtain your debit card information. It might be difficult to get the money back into your account if they succeed in doing this.

Beware of Vishing Attempts

Vishing is a telephone scam in which fraudsters try to trick potential victims into making a payment, visiting a fraudulent website or disclosing confidential information. If you receive an unexpected phone call, be careful and do not trust the caller. If you are not sure whether the call is genuine, you should end the call immediately and contact the company or authority concerned independently via the official customer service numbers.

Keep Your Software Update

Maintaining the security of your digital environment is significantly bolstered by ensuring that your software remains up to date. This encompasses your operating system, internet browser, and any other software you frequently utilize. While updating software may be viewed as a tedious task, it plays a crucial role in fortifying your defenses against potential cyber threats.

Cybercriminals are continuously on the lookout for novel methods to compromise systems, and regular software updates are essential for mitigating any security vulnerabilities they may exploit. Stay proactive in this regard to keep potential attackers at a distance.

To Monitor Bank Statements

During the festive season, it is crucial to heighten your awareness regarding the transactions reflected in your bank statement. Regularly monitoring your accounts enables you to promptly identify any potentially suspicious activity. Should you detect any inconsistencies, it is imperative to promptly notify your bank.

Use Secure Digital Wallet

When utilizing a digital wallet for card storage, it’s crucial to verify that the service provider implements robust security measures. While the inherent nature of the service diminishes the likelihood of keystroke logging or falling victim to phishing attempts, it is advisable to select digital wallet providers that offer additional protective features such as tokenization or biometric authentication. Examples of these providers include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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