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The 12 Frauds of Christmas

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The 12 Frauds of Christmas

Published: December 22, 2023

As the festive season envelops a spirit of joy, banks face the shadowy side of holiday cheer — online fraud and Christmas scams.

As a regulated financial institution, Unity Trust Bank is committed to providing tools to try to protect customers.

In our quarterly cyber blog, we highlight 12 Frauds of Christmas to be aware of:

  1. Christmas Carol Phishing Baits: Cybercriminals, like digital grinches, hang phishing baits in fake emails, messages and websites to lure unsuspecting individuals to disclose personal information about themselves, such as names, addresses and passwords. This festive season provides a perfect cover for these online scams. If it looks too nice and shiny it might be too good to be true!
  2. Mistletoe Malware: Like mistletoe, malware deceives with seemingly harmless elements. Malicious software lurks in the digital shadows, waiting to trick individuals  into clicking on links that could expose private information. Do not click any links or attachments which might seem mischievous!
  3. Yule Log-in Frauds: The holiday rush makes individuals susceptible to log-in frauds. Fraudsters exploit the festive season to attempt unauthorised logins and gain access to sensitive information. Do not reveal your login details or passwords to anyone! These are personal to you!
  4. Wassailing Vishing Calls: Posing as bank or trusted representatives, fraudsters exploit the holiday chaos by tricking individuals into revealing sensitive information over the phone. If you are unsure who you are talking to, hang up and call back on the trusted phone number!
  5. Five Pounds Synthetic Scams: Instead of golden sleighing skimmers, synthetic fraud takes centre stage. Criminals create fake identities using bits of real information, making detection challenging for banks. The holiday season becomes a playground for these synthetic scams. Safeguard your documents! These are personal to you!
  6. Silent Night Inactive Accounts Fraud: In the calm of the silent night, inactive accounts become a target for fraud. Cybercriminals exploit neglected accounts with weakened security measures, initiating fraudulent activities like silent night thefts within the banking systems. Enable second factor  to strengthen your account security.
  7. The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Dormant accounts become the ghosts of Christmas past, haunting individuals with potential fraud. Cybercriminals exploit weakened security measures, accessing neglected accounts like phantoms in the banking system. Talk to your bank if you see any activity you are not expecting. Also talk to your bank about closing the account if it’s no longer required, or start using it again if you need it.
  8. Cracking the Foreign Payments: As global transactions surge during the festive season, fraudsters seize the opportunity to manipulate international payments, causing financial havoc for both banks and their customers. Add a second signature on your account to strengthen the front door locks!
  9. Festive Carol Business Email Compromises: Festive carols take a sinister turn with business email compromises at this time of year. Fraudsters use the holiday season to compromise business emails, deceiving employees into authorising fraudulent transactions under the guise of holiday joy. Confirm any correspondence which might seem odd with the sender!
  10. A Festive Fraud Ballet: A festive fraud ballet unfolds as impersonators dance into the scenario, donned in the attire of trustworthiness. They impersonate bank or trusted officials, leading unsuspecting victims into a choreographed routine of fraud. If you suspect any criminal activity, report it ASAP!
  11. Christmas Cracker Identity Thefts: Like a Grinch stealing presents, thieves target individuals through various means in order to steal their identity e.g. scam emails or phone calls. Personal information becomes the coveted Christmas cracker filler as criminals’ profit from vulnerable victims. Do not reveal any personal information to anyone and safeguard your ID and passwords at all times. These are private to you!
  12. Twelve Insiders Leaping: As the twelve drummers drum, insiders may be leaping into the world of internal fraud. Employees with access to sensitive information could exploit year-end processes or manipulate financial records, leaping into an unseen internal scheme. Strengthen your business policy and controls. We have lots of information available on our fraud page which may help you stay safe.

This Christmas, as we celebrate the joy of the season, let’s not forget to safeguard our financial festivities. We must remain vigilant against these 12 Frauds of Christmas, ensuring a secure and joyful holiday season for all. May your days be merry, bright, and fraud-free!