As we continue our headlong sprint into the holiday season, the Florida Bar has a word of advice that benefits not only attorneys, but everyday consumers:
“Beware of Holiday Cyber Scams.”
The Bar dove into this topic in a recent blog post, available here.
As it notes, though cyber security “may not be at the top of your holiday preparation list,” it is vital, particularly in the face of “holiday phishing scams or malware campaigns,” which can be pernicious, and afflict consumers from all backgrounds.
Indeed, the Bar blog goes on to cite a phishing survey from DomainTools, which found that 38 percent of respondents “had fallen victim to an online phishing attack,” despite the fact that “more than 90 percent of respondents [stated] that they are familiar with phishing.”
As Florida Bar President Michael Higher puts it (emphasis ours):
“This goes to show you how clever these criminals have gotten with their schemes… During the holiday season, lawyers – just like everyone else – need to pay extra attention and be mindful of online scams.”
So, how can you and yours protect yourselves this winter? The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of the Department of Homeland Security, offers a few tried-and-true recommendations; broadly speaking, the agency reminds consumers that it pays “to be vigilant when browsing or shopping online.”
The Bar Blog continues:
“Emails and e-cards from unknown senders may contain malicious links. Fake advertisements or shipping notifications may deliver attachments infected with malware. Spoofed email messages and phony posts on social networking sites may request support for fraudulent causes.”
In an extended news article, the Bar offers a few more recommendations, including suggestions that consumers always thoroughly vet service providers and only “do business with reputable vendors,” look into options for data encryption, frequently check their bank statements and receipts, and beef up their password security.
For those who may have already been victimized by a holiday cyber scam, the DHS and the Florida Bar remind consumers that they should not hesitate to “report the attack to the police and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.”
For more on that last point, we encourage you to peruse our guide to some practical administrative remedies for consumer relief, available here. For even more insights on cybersecurity and common risks, the Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute (PRI) offers alerts and answers to frequently asked questions, which can benefit attorneys and their clients alike.
For more tips on being vigilant and avoiding scams – particularly when it comes to an area that frequently attracts our focus, the all-too-common timeshare resale scam – we encourage our readers to check out the following resources:
- The Five Stages of a Timeshare Resale Scam
- How Do I ‘Get Out Of’ My Timeshare Interest and Avoid a Scam?
- Is It a Timeshare Scam? Watch Out for These Warning Signs
Our thanks to the Florida Bar for reminding us – and our readers – of the importance of cybersecurity this holiday season!
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.