Online Safety Tips

Last month we told you about online shopping safety. Here’s some more information to keep you and your business safe.

Travel Email Malware

These types of phishing emails are designed to appear as if they come from major airline, car rental and even hotel chains. Many people travel over the holidays so it is no surprise that scammers would target malicious emails at these providers. The sample email below is another example of the scammer trying to get someone to download or open a malicious file on their computer.

Re: Your Flight Order N590-5507130

Dear Customer,

FLIGHT ELECTRONIC NUMBER 8532856 DATE & TIME / NOVEMBER 28, 2014, 11:17 PM ARRIVING: NEW YORK JFK TOTAL PRICE: 478.02 USD

Please download and print out your ticket here: (harmful link removed)

Thank you,

American Airlines Customer Support

The largest airlines targeted by these types of fraudulent emails such as Delta, American Airlines and US Airways have posted warnings on their respective websites concerning these types of emails:

American Airlines http://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/phishingEmailExample10.jsp

Deltahttp://www.delta.com/traveling_traveling_checkin/flight_status_updates/advisories/scheduled_maintenance/index.jsp

US Airways http://www.usairways.com/en-US/contact/scamalert.html

Fake Online Giveaways

One of the most common online scams is the giveaway. There are, of course, legitimate giveaways and promotions, but these are much rarer than the scams. For example, check out this “Free iPad” giveaway:  

Online Safety TipsOnce the customer goes to the website and clicks to claim their “free” iPad, they are offered an online coupon code (which does nothing), but before they can get it they are asked to provide personal information which can include credit-card details, passwords and other financial data. Apple does not really like promoted giveaways of their products and so they have stiff guidelines about them, including a restriction that the word “free” is not used to promote the giveaway! So anytime you see something like “free iPad” or “free Macbook Pro” posted in bold letters, you know it is a scam. The best way to avoid these scams is never participate in them. The risk outweighs the rewards most of the time. However, if you believe an online giveaway is legitimate; do your research! If the giveaway is from a well-known company, go to that company’s website to confirm. Be sure to type in the web address directly into your browser. Do NOT click on a posted link on Facebook or Twitter no matter how official it looks.

Online Safety – Tips to Protect Yourself

Most of the time, it is fairly easy to protect yourself from these different types of fraud. Make sure you have business-class active antivirus protection installed on your computer and that it is fully updated. (If you have a free antivirus program, you DO NOT have business class AV protection.) Be vigilant when reading and responding to emails. No financial institutions will ask you to confirm your account details over an email. No government offices will request personal information via email. No court system in this country issues summons or judgment notices through email. Ignore these emails or contact directly (not over email) the party in question to confirm the email message. Watch out for “too good to be true” type offers on social networks like free iPads or airline tickets and never reveal your personal information just to participate in an online promotion. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life. Common sense like this will protect you from most of the frauds you will encounter online.

Happy (and safe) online adventuring!