Keeping Your Personal Information Safe During the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches each year, our thoughts naturally turn towards others. Although we think of scammers as being thoughtless, be not ye comforted by knowing that they will be thinking of us too!

Scams increase around the holidays because our behavior changes in predictable ways, such as expecting a package, wanting to receive an e-card from a loved one, or hoping that someone we haven’t spoken to in years is trying to connect with us.  This makes us more vulnerable to scams that would be less convincing throughout the rest of the year.  

One recent scam we've seen starts with a simple message such as "Are you available?" sent from a manager to a staff member.  When someone is "hooked", the scammer will request that the victim purchase gift cards and send the activation codes.  Successful execution of the scam can lead to financial loss (cost of the cards) and an incident investigation.

Keep your holiday season merry and bright by taking a little extra time to consider if that short email with a link from someone you know is really safe to click on. If in doubt, try using an alternate contact method such as text message or phone call to verify the legitimacy of the email.  

Is the email a phishing scam?

  1. Verify the sender's email address.
  2. Check the URLs before clicking.
  3. Be cautious when you see the following common signs of phishing - urgent language, grammar mistakes, insecure links (http:// instead of https://), or asking for your personal information such as password.

For more details, please check out our cyber security course on Canvas.