3 cyber scams to look out for this holiday season

Despite this being a year unlike any other, you can be sure that the cybercrime industry is as thriving as ever.

In fact, the threat of cyber scams is even more prevalent in 2020 – and things are only going to get worse during the holiday season, as people rely on technology to buy gifts and stay in touch with loved ones.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest threats to watch out for and how you can stay safe.


1. E-skimming attacks

Although cybercriminals have many methods to target you, their goal is always to make money – and the simplest way to do that is to steal people’s payment card information.

In e-skimming attacks, criminals inject malware into a website payment processing page, which siphons off information as customers make payments.

Criminals then use that information to make fraudulent purchases or sell the records in bulk on the dark web.

The latter is more common, given the sheer number of payment card details that can be stolen in a single attack. Indeed, records are sold for as little as $12, providing an indication of how abundantly available this information is.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for individuals to protect themselves from e-skimming attacks, because the responsibility lies with the online store.

But if you’re looking for a general rule, you should favour recognisable brands that are likely to invest in cybersecurity defences and those that use a trusted third party payment provider.


2. Fake adverts on online marketplaces

You should also be careful when dealing with individuals on online marketplaces and auctions.

These sites typically aren’t subject to regulations that would require them to verify sellers, so there is no guarantee that what you’re buying is genuine.

As a result, you may end up getting something less than you bargained for or, even worse, receiving nothing at all.

That is to say, the scammer might take your money with no intention of sending you the item. By the time you get suspicious that your package hasn’t arrived, it’s too late: the seller has closed their account and created a new one.


3. Malware hidden in e-cards

You might be tempted to send loved ones e-cards this year to protect them from the COVID-19-related risks of physical cards, which will be handled by several people on its way to the recipient.

Unfortunately, e-cards potentially contain a different kind of virus, with cybercriminals increasingly using them to spread malware.

Before you open an email attachment, you must make sure you have antivirus software installed. Your email client should also have a spam filter that detects suspicious emails and warns you before opening attachments.

Stay on top of your cybersecurity risks

You can find more advice on how to protect yourself from cybersecurity risks by subscribing to our Weekly Round-up.

It contains the latest industry news and advice, as well as a selection of tools and resources to help you address your organisation’s cybersecurity.

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