FBI warns of holiday cyber scams

Phishing, drive-by malware downloads are likely

With cyber Monday comes an FBI warning against spam containing malware and phishing attempts that appear to be greeting cards and ads for shopping bargains.

The goal is theft of money and personal information, according to Shawn Henry, the assistant director of the bureau's cyber division.

E-mails attempt to lure victims to dummy e-commerce sites in hopes of gleaning credit card numbers and passwords, the FBI says. By mimicking legitimate sites, they lull unsuspecting shoppers into giving up the information as they make what they think are legitimate purchases.

The e-mails look real, often containing legitimate company logos and live links.

In some cases criminals direct users to genuine Web sites, but trigger popups over them to capture personal information that they use to run up credit-card bills and drain bank accounts, according to the FBI.

The information entered will most likely be sold to other criminals who will exploit them for cash and merchandise, the bureau says.

Greeting card scams come in the form of e-mails urging recipients to click on a link to read a greeting card that has been sent to them. When they do, they are directed to a site where malicious software is automatically downloaded to their machines, the FBI says.

Other attacks come in the form of e-mails informing recipients that one of their accounts has a problem and to click on a link to clear it up. When they do, they are taken to a fraudulent site where they are asked for account numbers and PINs.

One scam is in the form of a survey, at the end of which participants are asked for account information so funds can be transferred to them in appreciation for their help.

FBI tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Do not respond to spam.
  • Do not click on links contained within unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious with e-mail containing attachments and open only those from known senders.
  • Don't supply personal information via e-mail surveys.
  • Compare the links in e-mails to the links they connect to in order to determine if they match. If they don't, leave the site.
  • Log on to Web sites that are advertised in unsolicited e-mail rather than connecting via links in e-mails.
  • Contact the business that purportedly sent the e-mail to verify if it is genuine.

The FBI urges victims of cyber crimes to report them to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cyber-safety plan

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?