Beware this realistic-looking email that can steal your information

If you're one of the millions of Americans shopping online this holiday season, you need to be aware of some dangerous scams that are catching people off guard!

Unfortunately, the holidays are always a popular time for scammers. With an increase in online orders, package shipments and bargain hunting, there are plenty of opportunities for crooks to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

The latest scam making the rounds is a fake email targeting Amazon customers.

According to a recent report, scammers have sent thousands of emails to consumers that appear to be from Amazon — claiming there's a "problem" with their order.

To resolve the "issue," the customer must confirm "certain information" by clicking on a link provided in the email — and if they don't, they won't be able to access their Amazon account. The link then takes you to a fake website that appears to be legit, making it easy for the thieves to trick unsuspecting shoppers into handing over their personal information.

What's even more deceiving about this particular scam is that after you've entered your information, the site prompts you to click a "save & continue" button, which then takes you to Amazon's official website.

How to protect yourself

As a general rule of thumb, if you receive an email you weren't expecting, do not click on any links inside the email. Even if you are expecting an order confirmation or package to be delivered soon, do not click on any links in an email notification. Go to the company's website directly to get any delivery or order information.

Here are some more tips to help you protect yourself from online scammers:

  • Be wary of unexpected emails containing links or attachments: If you receive an unexpected email claiming to be from your bank or other company that has your personal information, don't click on any of the links or attachments. It could be a scam. Instead, log in to your account separately to check for any new notices.
  • Call the company directly: If you aren't sure whether an email notice is legit, call the company directly about the information sent via email to find out if it is real and/or if there is any urgent information you should know about.
  • If you do end up on a website that asks for your personal information, make sure it is a secure website, which will have "https" at the beginning ("s" indicating secure).
  • Look out for grammar and spelling errors: Scam emails often contain typos and other errors — which is a big red flag that it probably didn't come from a legitimate source.
  • Never respond to a text message from a number you don't recognize: This could also make any information stored in your phone vulnerable to hackers. Do some research to find out who and where the text came from.
  • Don't call back unknown numbers: If you get a missed call on your cell phone from a number you don't recognize, don't call it back. Here's what you need to know about this phone scam.
  • Be cautious of any notification from an "automated message system" that states "Click on this link for details."
For basic protection, use anti-virus and anti-malware software on all of your devices and make sure to keep it up to date. See our Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide for links to free options.
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