Why Cybercriminals Love the Holidays and How to Protect Yourself

Cybercriminals tend to love the holidays because people are more likely to be distracted and let their guard down during this time of the year. As a result of the increase in online shopping and travel arrangements, there is also an increase in the number of online financial transactions, providing more opportunities for cybercriminals to steal sensitive information.

Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals During the Holidays

People tend to receive more emails than usual during the holidays, making it easier for scammers to send phishing emails or malware disguised as holiday greetings or promotional offers. It’s important to stay vigilant to spot suspicious activity and take extra precautions during the holiday season to protect yourself from cyber threats.

Common Holiday Scams

Fake Shipping Notification

This message will likely be sent to your email address and might say you missed a package delivery and then direct you to a link to reschedule the delivery. It may also ask you to submit financial information to pay the delivery fee again. Many scam messages will fake a sense of urgency, saying that your package will only be deliverable if you click the link or respond immediately.

Fake Order Receipts

These messages are made to look like actual order receipts from trusted companies. Confused, the recipient clicks on the email link to see the item as they do not recall placing an order. Clicking these links automatically downloads malware onto your device and/or will prompt the recipient to enter personal data.

Charity Donations

People who send these scam messages pose as a well-known charity using the same logo or name. The fake charity donation requests contain links that ask the recipient to input credit card information or redirect them to a malicious site.

Holiday E-Cards 

This scam may be coming from your place of work as a holiday gift or a well-known retailer offering discounts when you purchase gift cards. The sender often creates a sense of urgency by saying things like the card will be unavailable after a specific date or that the employee must enter personal information to verify they are the correct recipient.

Seasonal Worker Targeting

Temporary jobs are common during the holidays. Once scammers become aware of seasonal employment options, they will scam the seasonal employee by posing as the company they were hired at. Since the temporary employees are not familiar with the company’s communication practices, they are targeted to open malicious links or input bank account information.

Deceptive Job Postings 

With the increase in seasonal hiring for the holidays, scammers create fake job postings to target those looking for work. The fake job posting will encourage people to apply and enter contact information or click on malicious links.

How to Protect Yourself Against Scams During the Holidays

Identifying the common scams this holiday season is a great start to protect yourself from phishing. After all, 95% of all cybersecurity issues can be traced to human error, according to the World Economic Forum. Here are some general cybersecurity best practices to further protect yourself from scams and stay safe during the holidays.

Anti-Malware Settings

Anti-malware settings aren’t always on by default. You should manually change your settings to block links connected to malicious sites and block suspicious file attachments.

Email Spam Filter

Spam filters identify and block unwanted or potentially harmful emails. By implementing advanced filtering methods, the system can determine the content of an email and sender and classify the email as spam. These emails can be deleted automatically or after a certain period of time.  

DNS Filter

A DNS filter is an internet security tool that blocks access to harmful or inappropriate websites by comparing the requested website address with a list of known malicious or inappropriate websites. It works by blocking access to specific websites based on their domain names or IP addresses and is often used by organizations to protect their networks from cyber threats and ensure compliance with acceptable use policies. 


A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. It acts as a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the Internet. Firewalls can help protect against scammers by blocking unauthorized access to a computer or network from outside sources. They can also block malicious traffic and prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data or installing malware on a computer or network. 

Other Holiday Cybersecurity Tips:

  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card 
  • Avoid requests to update passwords or billing information 
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks
  • Do your research if you are unsure

Remember to stay vigilant and think before you click on any suspicious links or download attachments. By taking these simple steps, you can enjoy the holidays with peace of mind, knowing that your sensitive information is safe and secure.

Comprehensive Security Solutions Tailored for You

At IP Pathways, we understand the security risks of a cyber-attack. In partnership with Tenax Solutions, an IP Pathways Company, we are happy to offer security and compliance services to uniquely support you and your team. Our experienced engineers will work with you to understand your goals and provide custom solutions that cater to your needs. We offer various security services, including risk management and assessment, penetration testing, offensive security, and remediation services. IP Pathways can also implement backup as a service, managed Cisco Duo, and firewall as a service to develop a holistic security solution. Check out our complete list of IT Solutions and contact us today! 

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