Elves of the Dark Web: Beware of Holiday Scammers

holiday scams

As you’re wrapping up your holiday shopping this season, beware of fake emails and texts attempting to get your information. While these messages may look official from people you know or from your favorite stores and online shopping sites, many are not.

Scammers don’t take days off during the holidays. They are the elves of the dark web, working overtime to gain access into your accounts!

One alarming trend we’re seeing right now is these bad actors are sending fake text messages appearing to come from corporate executives. These texts are coming in many forms, including asking to purchase gift cards, asking to call back because they need a favor, and even sending fake electronic gift cards.

Another trend we’re seeing right now is text messages and calls from the Social Security office asking to verify information about cost-of-living adjustment for people who get such benefits. Keep in mind, the way they communicate will not change because it’s the holiday season -- you will never be asked for personal information via email or text.

Recognizing the signs of a scam can help you avoid falling victim to one.

  • Scams primarily use the telephone to contact you, but scammers may also use email (personal or corporate), text messages, social media, or even U.S. snail mail.
  • They will pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust. From your bank to your place of work, to your cell phone or cable provider to the US Social Security office.
  • Scammers create urgency to throw you off so that you take action that you normally wouldn’t do if you had time to think the action through.
  • They will request that you pay in a specific way.
  • Scammers frequently change their methods with new tactics and messages to trick you.

These bad actors are smart; they know people are taking time off from work, including your IT staff who typically would monitor your network for suspicious activity. It’s prime time to get in and snoop around for elevated administrative access when companies are short staffed. It’s important that you have a combination of automated cyber alerts setup and a live person monitoring your IT environment at all times, including the holiday season. 

If you do not feel your current IT company is providing you with the level of cybersecurity protection you need, contact ANP today! 

If you suspect or identify suspicious communications, report it right away. We encourage you to stay up to date on the latest news and alerts on www.anp.net/blog.

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