It’s the holiday season, and inboxes are increasingly filled with gift promotions and greetings. But often lurking in the midst of these seemingly innocuous messages are holiday phishing scams.

Nothing brings out the bad guys like the holiday season. People are busy, less cautious, and easily fooled by social engineering hacks disguised as special offers, or by attackers posing as friends, family, or businesses. 

In fact, research shows that mobile phishing attacks almost double around the holidays.

What’s the end game? By tricking individuals into visiting a fake website or landing page, hackers can steal personal information, including credit card numbers, account credentials, mailing addresses, and more.

But if you are a high-net-worth individual or family, the outcome can be devastating. An attacker can make almost as much money by hacking into your digital life as they can by hacking into a large organization. They can empty your bank account, exfiltrate confidential information, take over online accounts, steal your identity, commit fraud, track your location, and even inflict physical harm.

And it happens a lot: 28% of ultra-high-net-worth families, family offices, and family businesses have experienced a cyberattack.

3 ways to protect against holiday mobile phishing scams

If you are a high-net-worth individual or family, here are three digital privacy protection measures you should take immediately to help reduce your risk of falling victim to a holiday-themed mobile phishing campaign.

1. Lock down key accounts

One of the most important email protections that you can take is to lock down your most important digital accounts with dual factor authentication. This includes email, financial, and social media accounts. While you’re at it, add it to your Amazon account and Alexa (you don’t want hackers getting access to your data, voice recordings, or those movie selections).

By requiring another piece of information along with your password, dual-factor authentication greatly enhances the security of these accounts. It is much more difficult for cybercriminals to hack an online account without that second piece of information activated. 

2. Patch your devices

Be sure to update all your mobile devices and applications with the latest security patches. These updates are issued by software companies to fix bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit through phishing campaigns. Visit the General Settings on your devices to check if you have an update available.    

3.  Stop those location trackers

Smart devices help you stay connected, but hackers can also use your device’s GPS tracking feature to keep tabs on you. Prevent location tracking by restricting GPS tracking to essential apps only and enable the setting that only allows location tracking when you use the app.

That way, even if a cybercriminal were to gain control of your device, they would not be able to tell where your physical location is. 

In addition, SIM Swapping and mobile device takeover have become common tactics for hackers to take over control of one’s phone or tablet. This can be done when malicious apps are downloaded, often the result of a well-conceived phishing attack. 

Experience peace of mind this holiday season

Practicing these three basic cyber hygiene measures will help keep you safe this holiday season.

But for true peace of mind, click here to speak with a BlackCloak representative about implementing a personal cybersecurity and digital privacy protection strategy that protects your life online – year-round.