With the holidays fast approaching, it can also be the most wonderful time of year for scammers looking to take advantage of people when they least expect it.

There are a wide variety of criminal mind scam attempts each year, Greg Young, Trend Micro’s vice president of cybersecurity, told Global News, that this year, one appears to be fake shipping notification scams.

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“The bad guys are sending notifications, whether it’s by email or by text message or SMS, that you received or missed a delivery from Amazon or DHL or others, and there’s a link there to click,” he explained.

“Usually these are pretty well written (and) the idea is to just click on (it) and you know you’ll get malware. And you know that’s just the beginning of the ransomware or something else. “

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Because people are concerned about receiving gifts for their loved ones in time for the holidays, Young said scammers take advantage of people’s anxiety to wreak havoc.

There are other scams, he said, like pretending there are problems with your COVID passport or that a family member might be sick.

“All of these have a common element. They are going to play in some kind of stressful event for you, or something that you feel aggrieved about, or you have to react quickly, ”explained the cybersecurity expert.

“You have been exposed to COVID. Your COVID passport is invalid. There are so many: your insurance is revoked, duct cleaning, anything possible that could stress you out. “

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But, he said, there are steps that must be taken to reduce the risk of being taken advantage of.

Click to play video: 'Ontario Provincial Police Share Tips on How to Stay Away from Gantry Hacking and Vacation Scams'

Ontario Provincial Police Share Tips on How to Stay Away from Gantry Hacking and Holiday Scams

Ontario Provincial Police Share Tips on How to Stay Away from Gantry Hacking and Holiday Scams

“Generally, you have to assume that any bond they give you has to be hostile, unfortunately,” he explained.

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“Canadian (Internet) operators and ISPs do a good job of filtering most things, but they always do.”

Young said that before clicking on any link, there are some easy questions to ask:

“Does this make sense? Does this even seem valid?”

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A third way to protect yourself is to contact the delivery service mentioned in the email or text message. Find official contact information for a business or organization and reach out before clicking a link, Young said.

“There is also a great service that is available online to verify your URLs before clicking on it,” he offered before explaining how to warn against clicking the link.

“You have to copy and paste the link in one of these (URL verification services) which gives you a good kind of first verification, if it is legitimate or not.”

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Young also suggests getting some software to protect your devices and also keeping a regularly updated backup of your software.

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“Stay patched, stay protected. Click on those Microsoft or Apple updates to update your operating systems, that will stop a lot of these attacks, “he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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