KnowBe4 Alerts Shoppers to Top 5 Holiday Cyber Scams—Provides Tips to Protect Money and Identity

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With the holidays just around the corner, shoppers are more prone to falling victim to cybercrime; KnowBe4 reveals the top scams and tips to keep your money and personal information safe.

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Online shopping is vulnerable to cyberattacks, and people need to understand that it happens in homes, as well as businesses, due to lack of training

Even though nearly everyone has gone through difficult economic times, spending is in the air; the 2012 holiday season is predicted to see a spending increase of three to four percent over last year’s sales of $471.5 billion (1). Due to the convenience of online shopping, people may easily forget the safety precautions for preventing cybercrime. KnowBe4, an internet security awareness training firm, is helping people protect their money and personal data by addressing the top five cyber scams and offering tips to prevent them.

KnowBe4’s 2012 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Scams:

Number 1—The Evil Wi-Fi Twin
Scam: Cybercriminals put out a Wi-Fi signal that looks similar to a free one that you always use. Choose the wrong Wi-Fi, and the hacker can steal credit card data while you’re shopping online.
Tip: When using a Wi-Fi connection in public, never give out your credit card information.

Number 2—The Search Term Trap
Scam: Hackers build sites that profess to have high-demand items. That site gets pushed onto the search engines and people may click on links that go to the site. That site contains malware and will infect your PC.
Tip: Make sure that your web browser is fully updated and will warn you if a site is unsafe.

Number 3—The Fake Recession Relief
Scam: Internet swindlers target people who are vulnerable, due to the recession, with pay-in-advance scams and credit offers. Spam emails advertise “prequalified, super low-interest” credit cards and loans if you pay a processing fee which goes straight into the scammer’s pocket.
Tip: Learn the guidelines of how to spot a harmful email.

Number 4—The Extra Holiday Money Fraud
Scam: Cyber-fraudsters are offering work-from-home scams. They will get people to fill out a form which requests confidential information (such as your Social Security number), so they can then steal your identity.
Tip: Never provide confidential information unless the web site is credible and has been verified as safe.

Number 5—The DM (Direct Message) Scam
Scam: After you’ve tweeted about an item for your holiday wish list, a direct message (DM) from another twitter user offering to sell the same item may appear.
Tip: Stop, Look, Think—because this could very well be a sophisticated scam. If you do not know that person, be careful before you continue, and never pay up front.

While shoppers need to be cautious during the holidays, KnowBe4 advises that people and businesses should be trained on how to prevent cyberattacks at home or in the office, no matter the time of the year.

“Online shopping is vulnerable to cyberattacks, and people need to understand that it happens in homes, as well as businesses, due to lack of training,” commented Stu Sjouwerman, CEO and founder of KnowBe4.

KnowBe4 is committed to protecting businesses and local governments against cybercrime. Its latest efforts have been accomplished through a partnership with security consultant Kevin Mitnick (“The World’s Most Wanted Hacker”), wherein they developed Kevin Mitnick Security Training. The training is interactive and web-based, and includes case studies, live demonstration videos and short tests. KnowBe4 uses knowledge of the latest cybercrime tactics in real-time to train its clients’ employees, ranging from credit unions to hospitals and insurance corporations.

Information on cybersecurity can be found in Cyberheist, the latest book written by Sjouwerman. Cyberheist provides the data that allows for setting new security policies, and ensuring that such policies are applied in a secure manner while not causing the organization's productivity to suffer. The book includes policies that inform employees about cybercrime prevention and help to keep businesses thriving.

For more information on how KnowBe4 can protect the consumers against holiday scams and tips on cybercriminals, visit

About Stu Sjouwerman and KnowBe4

Stu Sjouwerman is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC, which provides web-based Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) to small and medium-sized enterprises. A data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman was the co founder of Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software company that he and his partner sold to GFI Software in 2010. Realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, Sjouwerman decided to help entrepreneurs tackle cybercrime tactics through advanced security awareness training. He and his colleagues work with companies in many different industries, including highly-regulated fields such as healthcare, finance and insurance. Sjouwerman is the author of four books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Meltdown of 2008. Visit or

(1)Blischok, Thom., November 21, 2012. “Why Retailers can expect modest holiday spending growth.”

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