Aussies have been urged to watch out for email scams this festive season, as scammers ramp up their attacks.
Google is blocking billions of unwanted emails every day, including spam, phishing and malware emails, and has warned scammers will be getting “more extreme” as Christmas approaches.
Also read: 5 Christmas scams to watch out for
“Malicious actors don’t slow down during the holiday season - they accelerate,” Google Cloud said.
“In the past two weeks alone, we blocked over 231 billion spam and phishing messages, 10 per cent higher than the average volume.”
Here are the top five scams to watch out for this Christmas.
1. Fake gift cards and giveaways
“Scammers may attempt to trick people into purchasing a gift card for them - sometimes using the guise of a known contact - or dangle a free prize in exchange for sharing their credit card information,” Google Cloud explained.
If you receive an email from a friend, send them a quick message to make sure it is genuine. And if a giveaway seems too good to be true, it could be a scam.
2. Fake donations
Christmas is a time of giving and unfortunately scammers can take advantage of this. According to Google Cloud, charity-related scams and phishing attempts often get worse at this time of year.
“Whether it’s a supposed charity tied to a subject in the news, or an organisation with a familiar name, be on the lookout for anyone asking you to contact them on their personal email or send money to them directly,” it said.
3. Subscription-renewal scams
Subscription-renewal scams can spike as we reach the end of the year and scammers may pose as a legitimate company.
“A particularly unwelcome version of these emails is spoof antivirus services, which lure victims with the promise of improved security,” Google Cloud said.
“While some scammers can make their message look very convincing, always be sure to check the sender’s email. If it looks off, it may be fraudulent.”
4. Crypto scams
Crypto scams can also run rampant around this time of the year. Common types of crypto scams include investing in a fake crypto exchange, website or app, fake crypto tokens, and using crypto to pay scammers.
“Some big red flags include typos, email addresses that seem off, or demands for payment,” Google Cloud said.
5. Personal attacks
Scammers may also use “demographic data” such as your age and where you live when designing their attacks.
“These scams might seem more personal because they include some specific element of your life or identity,” Google Cloud said.
Google has advised Aussies to slow down and double check the email makes sense. Legitimate companies won’t demand you make a payment or provide your personal information on the spot.