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Ho, Ho, Ho? The Season of the Scammers is Upon Us Thumbnail

Ho, Ho, Ho? The Season of the Scammers is Upon Us

By: Bill Howard – Manager of IT Services

During the holiday season, scammers are hard at work attempting to steal anything they can phish out of us. Be on the lookout for fake shopping notices or shipping e-receipts. Scammers are sending messages via email and text that contain links to malware or phishing sites that are designed to steal our various account login information. Amazon, UPS and FedEx are commonly imitated in these scams.

In fact, given that the season for holiday shopping feels as if it has been extended, and more people than ever are shopping online during COVID times, this may not be a surprising corollary but it is true: The amount of bait being thrown at us has increased tremendously. 

Many companies have transitioned their users to working at home during the shutdowns that have occurred this year. Many of them are making use of applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to communicate with co-workers and clients. The reality is that now there are new Zoom and Microsoft Teams phishing attacks to watch out for. 

The Better Business Bureau has some great tips to help us protect our important information from scammers:

Consider this scenario: Out of the blue, you receive an email, text, or social media message that includes a trusted company’s logo and a message saying something like, “Your account has been suspended. Click here to reactivate.” or “You missed a meeting, click here to see the details and reschedule.” The message you receive may even appear to come from a known sender, such as a colleague or friend. You might even receive a message welcoming you to Zoom or Teams requesting you click on a link to activate your account.

Scam-buster solution: Double check the sender’s information. For instance, Zoom.com and Zoom.us are the only official domains for Zoom. MS-Teams invitations will come from the domain of the sender. Verify that the sender’s domain is correct.

Scam-buster solution: Scammers like to try and fool you but may give themselves away with common misspellings, so make sure you scrutinize tell-tale signs. For instance, notice that correctdomainname.example and correctdornainame.exarnple are not the same. If an email comes from a similar looking domain that doesn’t quite match the official domain name, it’s probably a scam.

Scam-buster solution: Never click on links in unsolicited emails. Phishing scams always involve getting an unsuspecting individual to click on a link or file sent in an email that will download dangerous malware onto their computer. If you get an unsolicited email and you aren’t sure who it really came from, never click on any links, files, or images it may contain. Dropbox, Google Drive and MS-Onedrive are often imitated in these scams.

Scam-buster solution: Resolve issues directly. If you receive an email stating there is a problem with your account and you aren’t sure if it is legitimate, contact the company directly. Go to the official website by typing the name in your browser and find the Contact Support feature to get help.

Scam-buster solution: Maintain a high level of vigilance and think before you click or reply to phishing emails or social media communications. It is more important than ever these days.

Tis the season to be jolly. Have fun shopping but watch out for the bad guys – and be sure to stick to your budget. Don’t let seasonal stress derail your long-term financial plan. Please reach out to your Buckingham Advisors team if you have any questions.