The holiday season is a prime time for cyber criminals. The rapid adoption of Internet shopping sites has lead to fertile ground for would ne cyber criminals. Cyber Monday now competes hand in hand with Black Friday and many online retailers have extended Cyber Monday to a Cyber Week or even Month.
Given all of this online activity, it was only a matter of time before this became an active target. This season, Amazon users seem to be the prime target. Cyber criminals are using a phishing scheme that states that some Amazon accounts have been hacked. The email contains an “Important Notice” about your account and that you are required to “verify” your account by confirming payment information and other security information. The confirming of payment and security information is not an uncommon request for many online sites and services as a verification method. However, you never want to provide this information from links in an email without absolute certainty that the request is legitimate. You may want to actually contact the company first, to see if they do request this type of verification from their customers. Chances are, they may not.
This is especially true if the message you receive states that if you do not take the requested actions, that your account may be restricted or suspended. A threat like this may be a good indicator that this is a phishing email and not a legitimate request.
Think Before You Click. It’s that simple. If you receive messages like this, asking for sensitive information, delete it. Follow the simple rule: “If In Doubt, Throw It Out!”
In addition to this type of message, fake messages that appear to be shipping notifications and order receipts are also commonplace this time of year and if fact, throughout the year. Don’t take the bait and click. If you think it may be a legitimate message, go to site where you placed the order or the shipper’s site and search yourself from there. Chances are, you won’t find anything corresponding to the email. Remember, don’t click from the email message itself. It may direct you to what looks like the Amazon or UPS site, when it fact it’s a fake version, designed to draw you in and reveal sensitive information.
Cyber criminals love this time of year. Don’t give them reason to celebrate the holidays. Stay Safe Online!