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Why you may not want to open that holiday e-card

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - One of the hallmarks of the season is holiday cards, but as technology takes over more parts of our lives, it also created a replacement for the greeting cards.

E-cards are getting ever more popular, but, like so many things on the internet, there can be issues.

“The holiday time is a time where we do see a lot of different scams out there,” said Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana. “People are, No. 1, busy, No. 2, they're spending a lot of money.” 

If you think of the elderly when you think of scams, the BBB says think again.

“Millennials actually, on scams, actually get scammed more often than older people,” Maniscalo said.

He said this is because millennials trust the internet more; that can mean trusting links for things like e-cards in their inboxes.  

“A lot of times those are entertaining. They can be really creative, but the scammers know that and the scammers, a lot of times, are sending e-cards,” Maniscalo said. “And what they want you to do is they want you to click on that.” 

Maniscalo said the fake e-card links can do a couple of things: download malware onto your computer, or steal your information by asking you to fill something out. This is a scheme the scammers can use to reach many people quickly.

“They can send it to thousands of people, costs them almost nothing to do that, and all they need is just a couple of people to do that,” Maniscalo said.

The bad news these fake links are not as easy to spot as they used to be.

“I would like to go back five years and say you could look for some of the common things like misspellings, improper English, things like that, but those don't always exist anymore,” said Jason Ortiz, an expert and engineer at a local cybersecurity firm. “A lot of times the attackers have taken the time to craft a reasonable message, so the best way is just a little bit of intuition. Did you subscribe to something that you think you should be unsubscribing from? Or is it sort of out of the blue? Are you expecting an e-card from family members? Is this something that family members have done before?”


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