Ho ho ho! Scammers are trying to wish you a Merry Christmas through phishing emails and text messages. Once you click on the links in these messages, you’re taken to a fake website that can download malware onto your device. Along with the malware, these websites also contain forms that you fill out for fake reasons and will steal your information. Here are some examples of Christmas phishing scams and how to avoid them.
Types of Christmas Phishing Scams
Scammers send emails and text messages to their victims, advertising a false job opportunity to become a holiday secret shopper. The victim clicks on the link to sign up as a secret shopper, and are taken to a fake website with a form to fill out. They fill the form out with their personal and financial information, which allows the scammers to steal their identities and their money.
Scammers send emails and text messages out to their victims, claiming to be a holiday charity they can donate to. The link redirects them to a fake website, which secretly downloads malware onto their devices. The website contains a form to fill out their payment and personal information so that they could make a donation. The problem is scammers keep the money donated for themselves and use their personal information to commit identity fraud.
Scammers send victims emails and text messages, advertising that they have holiday gift cards for sale at a lower price. Once the victim clicks on the link, they are taken to a fake website that has many gift cards for sale. Once they click on the card, it takes them to a “payment page” where they enter their personal and financial information to buy the card. However, instead of receiving the promised gift card, the scammer takes their information and uses it to commit identity theft and drain their bank account.
Scammers pretend to be retail stores (such as Amazon), banks, and online shops either advertising what they have for sale or claiming that their victims’ accounts have been hacked. The victims click on the link and enter the information necessary to buy a product or to supposedly fix their online account. With the information provided, the scammer can then steal the victims’ money or identity.
How to Avoid Christmas Phishing Scams
- Don’t give out any personal information for any reason.
- Don’t give out your financial information or your money for any reason.
- Don’t click on any links on the email, unless you have verified the sender and know where it’s coming from.
- Even if you’re sure it’s your favorite retail store or bank, go on the official website yourself versus clicking on the link.
- Make sure the sender’s email is legit and doesn’t use Yahoo or Gmail as their sender, or isn’t misspelled.
- Do research on the job opportunity before accepting it.
- Report any suspicious-looking emails to the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of Christmas phishing scams.