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KnowBe4 Unveils Top 5 Cybersecurity Tips to Avoid Scams During the Holiday Season

In the run-up to the 2023 holiday season, KnowBe4, a leading provider of security awareness training and simulated phishing solutions, is taking a proactive stance to safeguard end users against the growing threat of holiday scams. These nefarious schemes, encompassing phishing, payment fraud, investment scams, and other deceptive tactics, pose substantial risks to unsuspecting individuals during the festive period.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified phishing as the foremost holiday scam menace, with voicemail-based phishing (vishing) and SMS phishing (smishing) included in this category. Perpetrators employ unsolicited emails, text messages, and phone calls that mimic trusted organizations, coercing individuals into divulging sensitive personal, financial, or login information. Meanwhile, non-payment and non-delivery scams also rank among cybercriminal favorites. In non-delivery scams, purchasers make payments for online goods or services that never materialize, while non-payment scams involve the shipment of goods or services without the seller receiving payment.

Disturbingly, the FBI Internet Crime Report for 2022 revealed a five percent decrease in complaints compared to the previous year but saw potential total losses surge from $6.9 billion in 2021 to a staggering $10.2 billion in 2022. While phishing accounted for the highest number of complaints, totaling $52 million in losses, investment fraud emerged as the most financially devastating, with victims collectively losing a whopping $3.3 billion—an alarming 127% increase from the prior year.

To fortify defenses against these burgeoning threats, KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman outlined the top five cybersecurity tips for the 2023 holiday season:

  1. Exercise Caution: Approach links and email attachments from unfamiliar or suspicious sources with caution. Always validate the legitimacy of requests before sharing sensitive information.

  2. Verify Before You Buy: When shopping online, scrutinize sellers and websites, checking for reviews and ratings. Utilize secure payment platforms to protect against non-payment or non-delivery scams.

  3. Trust Your Instincts: If an offer seems too good to be true or feels off, take a step back, assess the situation, and don't rush into decisions.

  4. Watch for Delivery Note Scams: Beware of phishing emails or texts impersonating delivery companies, especially prevalent during the holiday season.

  5. Exercise Skepticism with Investments: Be cautious of unsolicited investment offers promising high returns. Research thoroughly, consult financial experts, and maintain robust cybersecurity measures.

In addition to these essential tips, Sjouwerman emphasized the importance of staying updated and educated on the latest cyber threats. He noted that "phishing remains the number one tactic used by cybercriminals," underscoring the need for heightened vigilance during the holiday season.

As the holiday season approaches, KnowBe4's guidance serves as a crucial defense against cyber threats, ensuring a safer and more secure celebration for all.

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