Visa Warns of Increased Phishing Scams During Holiday Season

Visa Warns of Increased Phishing Scams During Holiday SeasonVisa Payment Fraud Disruption (PFD) expects phishing attacks to increase between November 2023 and January 2024. Findings in its Holiday Edition Threats Report outline the popular fraud tactics predicted this holiday season.

Expected Holiday Phishing Scams

It's no surprise that phishing and social engineering scams are at the top of the list. The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) provides threat actors with the ability to create highly customized and more realistic phishing campaigns, making it more difficult to spot fakes. During the holidays, common types of phishing scams to look out for include malvertising (malicious advertising) and other illicit search engine optimization (SEO) tactics on retail or service websites that lead to phishing websites.

With merchants offering discounts and sales to increase holiday shopping purchases, threat actors will likely attempt to impersonate well-known retailers to trick consumers into accessing the phishing websites and obtain their payment account data. Retailers that are expected to be spoofed include large retail and/or electronics merchants, airlines and other travel booking sites, hotel and hospitality sites and other travel-related customer service sites, and luxury goods retailers.

Other Scams To Watch Out For

In a digital skimming attack, malicious code is deployed onto a merchant website which targets the checkout page of the merchant’s site and harvests payment account data. With the uptick in online shopping, there’s a greater opportunity for scammers to successfully compromise their account data. Additionally, with the increase in foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores and ATMs, threat actors will likely target ATM and POS terminals with skimming attacks more than usual.

Visa identified many one-time-passcode (OTP) bypass schemes to gain access to cardholders’ accounts. In this scheme, OTP templates are sent to the victims that appear to be associated with desired purchase. Criminals may also attempt to physically steal cards and/or devices from unsuspecting holiday shoppers in crowded retail stores, malls, or parking lots.

Here's what you can do to prevent becoming a victim of holiday scams:

  • Think before you click! Never click on links from unexpected or suspicious sources. Instead, contact your bank and other vendors directly rather than responding to a questionable email, phone call, or text message.
  • Beware of deals that are too good to be true. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails can often sound too good to be true and they often are, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. 
  • Use unique, strong passwords across all accounts, and enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Monitor bills, bank statements, credit reports, and retailer accounts to check for any unusual activity that might indicate fraud, identity theft, or if someone else has access to your account.
  • Be careful when posting on social media as always. Oversharing or even worse, sharing personally identifiable information (PII) can provide cybercriminals with clues to answer your security questions or craft believable, targeted scam messages.

“Crooks prepare all year for the holiday shopping season, taking advantage of increased activity and consumers who let their guard down searching for the perfect gift,” said Paul Fabara, Chief Risk Officer, Visa. “At Visa, we are committed to security and reliability, with a promise of 24/7 threat monitoring, even during the busiest time of the year. Consumers can rest easy this holiday season knowing Visa’s team of experts is working around the clock to stop fraud in its tracks.”

KnowBe4 enables your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

Get Your Free 2023 Holiday Security Awareness Resource Kit

It's the busiest time of year for everyone, especially cybercriminals. They know surges in online shopping, holiday travel and time constraints can make it easier to catch users off their guard with relevant schemes. This makes one of the busiest times of year one of the most important times for your employees to stay vigilant against cybersecurity threats.

 That's why we put together this resource kit to help ensure no chunks of cyber-coal end up in your employees’ stockings this season! Use these resources to help your users make smarter security decisions every day.

Holiday-Resource-Kit-2023Here's what you'll get:

  • New! Holiday Cybersecurity World Passport interactive game
  • Two free holiday training modules, available in multiple languages
  • Resources to share with your users, including an educational video, plus security documents and digital signage to reinforce the free modules included in the kit
  • Newsletters about holiday shopping and travel safety for your users
  • Access to resources for you to help with security planning for the upcoming year

Get Your Free Resource Kit Now!

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