'Tis the Season to Beware of eCard Scams

The holidays are here again, and with them come the yearly flood of electronic greeting card scams, spearphishing and cyber attacks. As popular as eCards are with your family members, friends and co-workers, they're even more popular with Internet fraudsters.

Being aware and following safe practices can help individuals from learning this, firsthand.

This year more than ever, the eCard you receive might be legit, or it might be an attempt to trick you into giving an attacker access to the information on your PC. The e-thieves' biggest targets are credit card numbers, bank account details and other information that could help them steal both your identity and your money. Worse, the eCards themselves can appear to come from legitimate sites or to have been sent by actual friends and relatives.

Telling the legitimate eCards apart from the scams can be very difficult, and guessing incorrectly can cause real problems. So what can you do to help protect yourself (and Jefferson Lab) from this type of attack? Here are some tips:
* The most effective thing is to ignore the eCard altogether. If you don't click that link or open that attachment, the scam will fail.
* If you do not recognize the sender's address, or if the card comes from "a friend" or "a secret admirer," it's almost certainly a scam.
* Do not rely on anti-virus software, patches or other security measures to keep your system safe from infection. Scammers are experts at getting around all types of automated security measures. You are the last, best line of defense against viruses, Trojans and scams.

When you receive one of these electronic cards (and odds are that you will), ask yourself, "Does this look suspicious in any way?" If so, simply delete the message and bask in the knowledge that you've helped maintain the lab's cybersecurity and protected your personal information.

If you'd like to do some additional reading on eCard scams, here are several good URLs to start with:

If you have questions, contact the IT Division Help Desk at: helpdesk@jlab.org.