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Published on December 12th, 2014

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Beware Holiday Phishing Scams

You open your email and are happy to see a shipping notification. Yay, you think, someone has sent me something. Perhaps a holiday gift.

Fake Walgreens Email II

You might even be upset to be informed by the email that the item you ordered could not be delivered.

False Shipping Emails

 

But don’t click on it just yet. This time of year, scammers are out in force trying to obtain valuable credit card and personal information from consumers by sending false shipping and delivery notifications.

The emails, which can refer to recent or supposed cancelled or undeliverable orders, can appear to come from retail stores and shipping companies. The email may be part of phishing scam where fraudsters try to get you to disclose personal information to steal your identity. And if you click on any links in the email you may not be confirming your order but instead downloading malware that is designed to obtain your personal information.

More recently, a new scam with similar intentions has been making the rounds. It’s called spear phishing and it targets specific people, using some identifiable information about them to get a person to click on the e-mail.

Experts advise that instead of opening the email or any links in it, go directly to the website of the retail store or shipping company or call the companies and confirm whether there is an order in your name.

The FBI also suggests you follow these tips:

  • Always compare the link in the email to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the email instead of linking to it from the suspected email. Review your official correspondence with the bank, credit card issuer or company referred to in the email to get the proper contact information.
  • If the email is urging you to act quickly, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act.
  •  Scan all attachments for viruses and avoid opening any from strangers.

More information on email scams can be found here.

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