Phishing, scams increase significantly over the holidays.   This year, there is even a greater risk from these scams because folks are doing even more online now, due to Covid-19, than any other holiday season.

While a large number of these scams are related to online shopping, free gift cards, credit card offers, and even shipping scams, there are quite a number of them looking to steal your identity by posing as legitimate HR and Finance communication.

Many companies end their fiscal year the same time as the calendar year, so employees are often told about their bonuses, pay increases, etc around this time of the year.  Threat Actors know this, and fake payroll and benefits information are often the topics of these scams.

Be diligent.  Don’t click on links in these emails – especially if they are coming from addresses outside the organization. If you believe the sender is legitimate, go to the organization’s website a different way – Google can be your friend in locating legitimate websites.  Or contact someone at the organization via phone or email – again, not by replying to the suspicious email, or using phone numbers provided (they could be fake as well).

If you do believe an email you received is malicious, please report it through the Outlook Phishing button.

If you’d like to give your family and friends the “gift of caution” and also be more aware of the types of scams that are hitting your personal mailboxes (and smartphones),  the FTC provides updated information on current scams and reported threats here:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts

Have a safe and phish-free holiday.