Action Line: Avoid scams in holiday e-cards, email attachments
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Thursday, December 20, 2012
12/20/12 at 4:05 AM
Dear Action Line: I received an electronic holiday greeting card containing ads for special discount sales offers. Are these legitimate or some scam? - G.P., Tulsa
As the winter holidays quickly approach, US-CERT - the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team - hopes to increase awareness of phishing scams and malware campaigns aimed at online Christmas shoppers.
In the past, US-CERT received reports of an increased number of phishing scams and malware campaigns that take advantage of the winter holidays and holiday shopping season. Users new to online shopping are encouraged to take care and practice safe online shopping techniques. US-CERT reminds them to remain cautious when receiving unsolicited email messages that could be phishing scams or malware campaigns.
These include electronic greeting cards containing malware requests for charitable contributions that could be phishing scams originating from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities. Also to be avoided are screen savers or other forms of media that could contain malware, credit card applications that are phishing scams or identity theft attempts and online shopping advertisements that are phishing scams or identity theft attempts from bogus retailers.
"US-CERT encourages users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and to take preventive measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns.
Such measures include reviewing the agency's "Shopping Safely Online" ( tulsaworld.com/CERTinternetshop).
Other cyber security tips are: Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages. Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to US-CERT's "Using caution with email attachments" ( tulsaworld.com/CERTemailattachments) and maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
Review the Federal Trade Commission's "Charity Checklist" ( tulsaworld.com/FTCcharitychecklist). Verify authenticity through a trusted contact such as the Better Business Bureau's National Charity Report Index ( tulsaworld.com/BBBcharities).
Also refer to "Recognizing and avoiding email scams" ( tulsaworld.com/USCERTemailscams) and "Avoiding social engineering and phishing attacks" ( tulsaworld.com/USCERTphishing).
Original Print Headline: Avoid scams in holiday e-cards, mail
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