As there is more commercial activity around Christmas holiday season, cyber criminals prepare massive attacks. According to security analysts, an increase of phishing attacks of up to 800% can be expected.
Online shopping is still on the rise and especially popular around the Christmas season. The average consumer is often not aware of the dangers lurking in legitimate-looking promotional emails. These emails contain links to seemingly legitimate websites, which look like an exact copy of your favorite online store or auctioning platform, for example. The only purpose of these sites, however, will be to “phish” for your credit card number and other personal details.
As the web keeps advancing, so does the ingenuity of phishing emails and attacks. The end user will have an increasingly more difficult time to distinguish phishing emails from regular ones. “To avoid such attacks it is essential to protect your users or your entire network from having phishing-emails enter mailboxes.” says Nils Decker from SpamExperts. “Besides this, a few simple things can be done to not fall trap to phishing emails:
1. Take note of how financial companies communicate with you.
Banks, credit card companies and other organizations that you have a financial relationship with, normally do not communicate via email. To be sure, double check by calling them for a quick confirmation. Use the phone number provided in official documents you received from them!
2. Be suspicious when reading your emails.
Most phishing mails are not personalized or are only addressed to a part of your email address. Additionally, they often do not have well structured sentences and/or include spelling mistakes.
3. Triple check whether the website you are visiting really looks like the one you are intending to visit and know.
Slight peculiarities (“unclean design”, color mismatches etc.) often indicate a phishing site. Also always double-check if a valid SSL certificate is used when entering private data.”
With this in mind, be aware and prepare yourself well enough to not lose your identity during the festive days.
Recommended Books on How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft:
- 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age: New Financial Threats You Need to Know and How to Avoid Them (2nd Edition)
- Identity Theft For Dummies
- Stopping Identity Theft: 10 Easy Steps to Security
- Identity Theft: Are You The Next Victim? How to Prevent, Detect and Recover from Identity Theft
- Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan