5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Phishing Scams in Your Email

Email phishing attempts increase significantly during the holiday season. Why is that, and what can you do to avoid falling victim to scams?

How many emails have you received this holiday season that contain links to popular shopping sites?

Why Does Phishing Increase During the Holidays?

All of the holiday shopping we do to ensure the Christmas tree is full of presents unfortunately opens the door for scammers to send dangerous emails to our inboxes. With every online order placed, emails related to payment confirmation, delivery status and tracking find their way to your inbox. This is the perfect opportunity for cyber-criminals to send phishing attempts that are disguised as typical online shopping emails that we are all accustomed to. Phishing emails stating that “urgent updates” are needed in order to receive your order in time are especially common. According to an FBI article reporting statistics from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), non-payment and non-delivery scam emails from 2021 cost unsuspecting shoppers more than $337 million, and credit card fraud accounted for $173 million. Because the volume of transactions increases this time of the year, people tend to pay less attention to the details that are present in an email. This makes it easier for people to fall victim to phishing attempts.  

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Phishing Emails

Let’s try to change some of these trends this holiday season. Here are some tips that can help you protect yourself from the numerous phishing attempts that you will see in your inbox:

  • If an email requires any “urgent action” and contains a link, be sure to pause and verify the email is authentic. If you are checking your email from a laptop or desktop, be sure to hover over the link to see if it is redirected to the actual source of the sender.
  • If you have doubts about the legitimacy of an email that you’ve received that contains order information, it is always safer to access any order confirmation, payment portal, etc. through the vendor’s website or application as opposed to the email. This way, you are completely avoiding potentially dangerous links included in an email by going straight to the source.
  • Be especially careful of emails that encourage you to make a purchase. Emails that advertise products, services, and the most common – gift cards – are more common this time of year. Be sure to verify these emails and the payment links, and make sure that payment methods are secure by ensuring the ‘lock’ symbol is present before the URL on the top left of your screen.
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for applications that contain your confidential and financial information. This adds a layer of security to your data, even if your passwords are compromised.
  • Do not enter your credentials on websites you are unsure of. Always verify the source and credibility of websites that require you to enter personal and financial information.  

Protecting Your Organization

By considering these five tips and remaining extra cautious when checking your inbox, you will be protecting yourself from the countless phishing emails being sent this holiday season. Here at Blackink IT, we go the extra mile when it comes to the safety of your inbox; from providing company-wide security awareness training to implementing industry-leading email security, the experts at Blackink will be able to keep your organization safe and productive so that your holiday season is indeed the most wonderful time of year! Contact us today.

Written by Deandra, Security Specialist at Blackink IT