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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Open e-cards with caution this holiday season

Nov 30

Open e-cards with caution this holiday season

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a growing holiday trend. Certain friends and family members have started sending e-cards to me instead of the paper cards of yesteryear. With what I’ve been reading recently, I’m going to be extra cautious when opening up those holiday e-cards.  Identity thieves have developed a scam into trapping unsuspecting victims into revealing their passwords, login names, account numbers, and other personal information, without realizing they are doing so just by opening up an e-card.

What was once a nice surprise has become a gateway to identity theft.  How this scam operates is by having e-cards installed with keylogger software into the victim’s computer.  It involves the identity thief sending an e-card that appears to originate from a major online greeting card service. When the user opens the e-card, the browser is redirected to an exploit server, which checks to see if the computer has been updated with the latest security software. If it hasn’t, the server then installs a keylogger which records all keystrokes made by the user.  The information  collected is then later used to commit identity theft against the innocent victim.

So how do you avoid an e-card scam?  Here are a few basic guidelines to protect yourself:

– Never download or click on anything from an unknown source

– Be wary of an e-mail message or file attachment from someone you don’t know or that seems suspicious

– Install antivirus software and keep it updated

– Preview a link’s Web address before you click it

This holiday season, will you be sending e-cards or holiday cards the old fashion way – by mail delivery?

Please feel free to comment, we would like to hear from you.