The holidays are a busy time for many businesses. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy season for nefarious cybercriminals itching to commit a variety of cybersecurity scams on unsuspecting shoppers. After all, many business owners are in a rush to get corporate gifts shipped, as a result, let their guard down when it comes to cybersecurity. The consequences? Hacked accounts, financial loss or stolen sensitive information – or even a mix of all three.

Luckily, you can take several cybercrime prevention steps to avoid becoming another statistic. It all comes down to practicing good online hygiene and familiarizing yourself with common online scams before committing a disastrous mistake. Below are the top holiday shopping cybersecurity tips to start following today.

Common Cybersecurity Scams to Look Out For

If there’s one thing cybercriminals are good at, it’s getting crafty with the crimes they commit. These are the most typical cybersecurity scams they try out during the holiday season:

Email Scams

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were a record-breaking 300,000 reports of phishing scams in the U.S. in 2022. These cyber scams consist of fake emails that convince the user to click on a malicious link that ends up stealing information or downloading malware onto their computer. During the holidays, scammers commonly send messages that ask for more information regarding a package, asking for an additional shipping or delivery fee or offering phony holiday-themed discounts.

Gift Card Scams

Cybercriminals love to make gift cards a focal point during the height of holiday shopping. They will trick shoppers into purchasing gift cards and giving them the codes from the card. The criminals will pretend to be a friend, relative or even boss, using the established level of trust to their advantage and making victims more likely to fall for the fraud.

Social Media Cybersecurity Scams

Many turn to social media during the holidays to participate in holiday-themed giveaways or contests for the chance to win free gifts. Unfortunately, many hackers take advantage of what’s supposed to be a festive occasion and post fake links that shoppers click on, giving away their information freely.

Four Holiday Cybersecurity Tips for a Festive Season

You know the risks – but what can you do to protect yourself this season? The answer: Follow the steps below.

  • Don’t click on suspicious links: A good trick to spot suspicious links is to hover your mouse over the link and look closely at the website address. Double-check that the address matches the sender of the email.
  • Don’t give away personal information: Do not give away personal information, such as your bank account information or passwords, to unknown sources, whether it’s through email, text, phone call or social media.
  • Don’t visit illegitimate websites: Unsure whether a site is secure or not? Look for the “https” in the website address. Legitimate sites will always include this.
  • Don’t forget to do your research: Always check feedback on sellers, especially on auction sites or online marketplaces. Read the reviews and check the ratings before moving forward.

Keep Your Cybersecurity Stronger Than Ever This Season

Yes, cybercrime prevention is more than possible this holiday season. It’s a case of remaining vigilant, being proactive and educating yourself on the latest cybersecurity threats. Even better? Universal Data offers multiple layers of cybersecurity protection to help your business protect, detect and respond to any and all threats. Contact us today to schedule your cybersecurity assessment for your safest holiday yet.