Avoid Holiday Shopping Email Scams

posted 11/29/2013 in General

Avoid Holiday Shopping ScamsScammers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season with fake email shipping notifications that pose as FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal Service. This Cyber Monday, don’t let these scams fool you into opening a virus on your computer. 
How the Scam Works:
You receive an email message that appears to be a shipping notification for a package. You've been doing your holiday shopping online, so you figure it must be something you've ordered. Curious, you open the email and attachment.
When you click on the file, you find that it isn't a tracking notification after all. It's really a virus that will download to your computer. Typically, these viruses phish for personal and banking information on your machine. But the FBI recently warned about the resurgence of a type of virus called "ransomware." Once downloaded, this virus will lock your computer and urge you to pay a ransom to the scammer responsible. 
Like all scams, this one has many variations. Scammers have posed as FedEx, UPS, USPS and even big online retailers, like Amazon. They also change up the email content. A common version of this scam is a fake delivery failure notification. Scammers claim the attached virus is the receipt you need to collect your package from the local office. 
Tips to Avoid Email Scams:
Spot common email scams by following these tips: 

  1. Don't believe what you see. Scammers make emails appear to come from a reputable source. Just because it looks like an "@ups.com" address does not mean it's safe. 
  2. Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. As always, do not click on links or open the files in unfamiliar emails. 
  3. Beware of pop-ups. Some pop-ups are designed to look like they've originated from your computer. If you see a pop-up that looks like an anti-virus software but warns of a problem that needs to be fixed with an extreme level of urgency, it may be a scam. 
  4. Watch for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails often are riddled with typos. 
  5. Immediate action is necessary. Scam emails try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don't fall for it. 
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