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Holiday Phishing

The holiday season is upon us and on-line merchants are anticipating a 30 percent increase in purchases. Unfortunately, our increased cyber activity elevates our exposure to phishing activities. Be cautious when navigating to sites advertising promotions that are too good to be true, offering free merchandise or claiming you’ve won gift cards. Phishing attempts can come via email, text messages and online ads.

Currently, there is a resurgence of free gift card contests claiming to be from major retailers. Offers purporting to link shoppers to good deals can prove irresistible and trick otherwise savvy shoppers into making credit card purchases at bogus web sites. These bogus sites, set up by criminals, are meant to trick you and often flawlessly imitate legitimate sites that people use all the time, such as Target and Best Buy.

Also, watch for malicious emails with invitations to see photos of family or friends, greeting cards, jokes and pleas for disaster relief assistance. During the holidays, criminals know that a well-crafted e-card can wreak havoc. When forwarded from person to person, malware disguised in e-cards can spread like wildfire and is used by criminals to capture credit card numbers, passwords and other personal information.

Especially during the holidays, the Internet is a criminal’s paradise – a place where anyone can appear to be someone they are not, then disappear without a trace after perpetrating a crime. This holiday, give yourself the gift of not being a victim. Learn how to protect yourself at the Internet Safety section of Cornell’s IT Security web site, at

Don’t get hooked by phishing. Look at examples of fraudulent emails (, “phishing,” seen on campus, and learn how to protect yourself from Internet fraud.

Always verify. Log in to look at a list of verified Cornell communications (; when in doubt, consult with your IT support staff or contact the IT Service Desk at

Be cautious, be safe and have a very happy holiday.

via Holiday Phishing – Be Safe! | Pawprint.

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