Ask Sabiha: A Weekly Column on How to Protect Yourself against Cyber Villains
Hi, my name is Sabiha and I am a student at Roosevelt just like you. I am working with Roosevelt’s technology department in cyber security. I am also a junior in the cyber security program. You can ask me about cyber security, phishing emails, emailing scams, and anything that has you worried about your own data security!
So, let’s get to it…
You may have heard about holiday scams on social media, on the news, or even from your friends. However, do you know what they really look like?
Here are some Holiday scams to watch out for this season:
- Fake holiday lottery winnings and giveaways claiming that you won and only need to pay taxes or fees to claim it! If you need to pay money, you didn’t win!
- Fake e-cards and invitation emails with phishing links harvesting personal identifiable information (PII) that can compromise your identity. Additionally, PII can be used for fraudulent purposes such as sending more phishing emails and even commit identity theft!
- “Secret Santa Gift Exchange” schemes. The Better Business Bureau has stated that these pyramid schemes are illegal and to report anyone promoting such invitations. These schemes can make you susceptible to more phishing attacks, or a victim of identity theft.
- Temporary holiday job scammers will reach out to you promising some form of employment such as work from home, secret shopper, or other ways to make fast and easy money. These job offers are nothing but ways to collect personal identifiable information (PII) and or money.
- Travel scams such as cheap airline tickets and or winning vacation tickets in a contest that you never entered in the first place. Be cautious of “too good to be true deals” including high discounts and promotional offers. Cyber villains may also use trusted sources to lure you in and redirect you to pay on a different site or by wire-transfer. Avoid any such transactions and pay only with credit cards to be safe from fraud.
- Shipping invoice emails for items that you did not purchase. The purpose is to bait you into clicking on links and or attachments containing malware. These links lead you to sign-in websites. However, unlike legitimate websites, here your information isn’t encrypted, and the scammer can easily take the credentials that you provide and gain access to your account. The attachments on such emails may contain malware that will allow a cyber villain access to your computer. Both will compromise your identity and data, allowing the scammer to commit identity theft.
Those are some of the forms of holiday scams you may encounter. Be sure to watch out for telltale signs and be safe! Happy Holidays!
Let me know in the comments below what else you are interested in learning about!