Protecting yourself during the holiday phishing season

Dec 17 2012

From credit card companies, banks, online payment gateways, loyalty programs, to your random emails from some far away country, in some way or format, you’ve likely already received spam or phishing emails that are designed or worded to draw you in, and take some action that’s going to cost you one way or another.

The holiday shopping season is full of offers and updates, and even more offers in your inbox from every single business you’ve ever interacted with. This opens up opportunities for phishing scams to be on the rise.

Amongst all the extensive offers and emails, it’s easy to overlook a seemingly harmless, but in reality, an unidentifiable phishing email that will tempt you to click, download, or give away personal information.

We recently received a reminder from our trusted partner, Sage North America that included a good summary of what Phishing attempts look like, and how to avoid getting caught. We thought we’d share some of the tips with you as well.

Where you’ll find them

Often arriving in a form of email or instant messaging, phishing will often direct you to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel is identical to the legitimate ones. Through this fake website, the attempt is to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy entity.

Guard your information

Regardless whether or not the email’s from a trusted source, you should never submit any sensitive information that’s requested via an email.

Don’t download any attachments from unknown sources, or click on any links or enter sensitive information online from unknown sources.

Rather than clicking on links provided in the email, when you want to visit a website, type in the company’s URL directly into the browser address bar to securely access the site.

If you do click on a link, check the address bar to see if the url looks like it belongs to the company’s main domain name, and that it is secured (https://), or look for the “lock” icon in the url.


If you’ve received an email you suspect is a phishing email and have either opened or clicked any of the links, immediately change your password and contact the relevant business or service to report the incident.

What kind of phishing emails or scams have you received in the past that you’ve almost or completely been caught in? What are the warning signs you look out for? Did you end up needing to take any recovery actions? Do share your experience, and insights, by letting us know in the comments below.

For now, wishing you a phishing free holiday shopping season!


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