Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning to the holiday season. These days are popular with both consumers and cybercriminals alike. To help protect your information, here are some of the most common holiday season scams as written in the Credit Union Times:
1. Black Friday/Cyber Monday Specials. Scammers often send fake emails with deep discounts on big ticket items, to lure consumers into clicking on the links. They then steal sensitive information like your credit card number to commit fraud.
2. Free vouchers or gift cards. A common scam involves big discounts on gift cards. Social media site posts also offer phony vouchers. Users who clicked through to those shared links are often brought to phony websites with online surveys designed to steal personal information.
3. Postal delivery failures. In this scam, consumers receive bogus emails with subject lines such as, "USPS Delivery Failure Notification." These emails then trick consumers into clicking the link to find out when they can expect a delivery. Clicking on the link activates a virus, which can steal personal information such as user names and passwords.
4. Ransomware, DDoS and site overload. In a typical extortion campaign, targeted businesses receive an email threatening a DDoS attack on the company's website unless they pay a ransom. DDoS attacks result in damaging consequences, including lowered customer confidence and lost revenue.
5. Fake coupons and refunds. A fake coupon and refund scam often circulates through emails that appear to come from a hotel or retailer. It claims a "wrong transaction" occurred and asks victims to click for a refund, triggering a malware infection on the victim's device.
6. Phishing on the Dark Side. A new email has begun circulating that tricks people into thinking they could win movie tickets for the highly-anticipated film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." However, the email is a phishing attack in disguise.
7. Charity tricksters. Making a donation on the wrong site can mean inadvertently funding cybercrime or terrorism. Consumers should be skeptical of communications that ask for contributions and make sure they are legitimate.
8. Extra holiday money. The most innocent versions of these scams collect confidential information such as Social Security numbers from victims on required forms, and then later on used by cybercriminals to commit identity theft.
9. The search trap. Bad guys do their research to find out what consumers want, then they build websites that promise the item to their victims. To get more traffic to the sites, they ensure that they pop up on search engines. These sites contain malware, and experts recommend that consumers update their web browsers to alert them of unsafe sites.
10. Open Wi-Fi. Scammers trick shoppers by emitting what appears to be a free Wi-Fi signal. If the shopper hops on it, the scammer can gain access to his or her credit card information. Experts advise consumers to never complete a credit card transaction while using a public Wi-Fi connection.
11. Grinch e-card greetings. These malicious email attachments look like an e-greeting card from a friend or co-worker, but they contain malware that could infect the recipient's device.
12. Not so secure EMV cards. The Federal Trade Commission reported scammers are trying to take advantage of the millions of consumers who haven't received chip cards by emailing them and posing as card issuers. These fraudsters coerce victims to share personal information or install malware on their devices.
About Unity One Credit Union
Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.
Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has eight branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™