‘Tis the season: Watch out for holiday cybercrime

6 December 2019

Throughout the holiday season we tend to travel more, make more online purchases and organise more parcel deliveries. This creates ample opportunities for cyber criminals to obtain our personal and payment information.

As we approach the silly season, here are some tips to help you stay safe online and avoid the holiday scams.

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Be wary of websites, emails and social media posts advertising huge discounts on popular items or vacation packages during the holidays. Check the web address for links shared via email and social media to ensure the website is legitimate. Try locating the website from a search engine instead of clicking the shared link.

Look for ‘https’ on retail and travel websites.
Only make purchases from sites which have secure connections and personal data encryption. Generally speaking ‘https’ domains are secure; however, criminals can purchase certificates to create https websites, so this alone is not proof of legitimacy.

Think about how you make purchases online.
Manually entering credit card details each time increases the risk that cyber criminals will intercept this information. We recommend using a third party payment method (such as PayPal) or credit card details already saved in your online shopping account. Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements to check for any suspicious charges.

Update your devices before travelling.

It’s easy to lose track of your devices in the chaos of travel, and a lost or stolen device can compromise your personal information. To protect yourself, always set a lock on your devices (phone, laptop, tablet etc.) and ensure your software is up to date.

Be wary of delivery tracking links.
Avoid clicking links in delivery confirmation emails and SMS messages, even if you’re expecting a delivery. Instead, access delivery and tracking details directly from the store’s website.

Think twice about free wifi.
Free wifi networks often lack the appropriate encryption and could leave your bank details at risk of theft by cyber criminals. Criminals can also create their own wifi networks which look just like free wifi. Where possible, avoid free wifi to keep your details safe.

Reporting scams

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam in a personal capacity, please report it to the Australian Cyber Security Centre via their Report page. If you are impacted by cybercrime in a professional capacity, please contact IT support immediately.