40% Off A Store Near You? Probably Not

As I mentioned last week in relation to Black Friday, the holiday season is a prime opportunity for cyber criminals and scam artists looking to steal your personal information.

The good news is that most of us have got a lot smarter when it comes to obvious phishing scams. The bad news is so have the cybercriminals.

You may already be familiar with term spear phishing. Spear phishing is the practice of using fake emails to lure unsuspecting users to bogus websites in an attempt to gain unauthorized access to their personal information. However unlike traditional spam, spear phishing is a highly-targeted operation.

By itself, the emails are pretty harmless. The real damage happens when an attached file is opened or after a link is clicked on.

But what’s different this year is how personalized these attacks have become.

It’s hard to recognize immediately that it may be fake when the email comes from the mall in your neighborhood, or from your most frequently visited store. Most likely if a store is sending an email it is going to be on their web site as well, so if you have any doubt over the legitimacy, skip the coupon link and go directly to the web site.

Kelly Batke

Kelly is the self-confessed technology laggard who works in technology. The good news is she is slowly reaching late adopter status. Kelly enjoys learning and writing about the psychology behind technology—as in why do we buy what we buy, and how does that impact our environment?