Don’t get caught by this scam! Tis the season to be jolly, not Scrooged

Illustration by Marian Kamensky

Illustration by Marian Kamensky

Around this time of year we seem to get busier. Whether it’s at work or home or both, we add more to our schedules and stretch ourselves thin. Maybe we are a little more tired as well. That’s what the bad guys are hoping for. That moment we aren’t quite paying attention.

The top 3 ways to get a major virus are through human error:  

  • Opening an email attachment (zip file)
  • Running an executable file (installing a program on your computer)
  • Allowing remote access (giving permission)

Canada Post has commented:

“New emails using Canada Post’s name or brand are circulating, inviting customers to either click a link or open a document to obtain their tracking information,” said a release from Canada Post on Monday.

“We wish to remind customers to not click on any links or open documents. These fraudulent messages … may contain viruses.”

There are many ‘RE-DIRECT’ links in the fake emails. Meaning, if you click the link in the email it will take you to a false front website. That is where the bad guys will try and get your information or your money. By getting you to install a program (which can be a virus or even remote access software) they might bully you to pay to have a program removed from your computer. They can even get you to feel like your computer is about to crash at any minute and pretend to be tech support.  

Always take a look at the Email Addresses and read the links.  As you can see in the email below, the ‘website’ is actually a zip file (.zip). If you click on that link, you will install a virus on your own computer. 

Tips to avoid falling victim to an email scam:

  • Don’t be fooled by official logos. One of the most common ways that email scams will try to fool you is by using official company logos or insignias. In some cases, the email address or web address may look close to the company’s name, but is slightly altered or off by a letter.
  • Watch out for poor spelling and grammar. An easy way to spot a phishing scam right away is by reading the email thoroughly, watching for bad spelling and grammar. Phishing emails are notorious for obvious spelling mistakes.
  • Check links before you click on them: If you hover your mouse over the link – without clicking on it – a small yellow box will appear showing the actual web address the link will take you to. If the link doesn’t match the hyperlinked text, it’s likely malicious.
  • References:  Canada Post, Global News, Canada Fraud Agency