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During this holiday season remain vigilant when browsing and shopping online.

Please be aware of common scams:

  • Copycat and fake websites pose as legitimate ones to capture personal and financial information.
  • E-cards and unexpected “gifts” from unknown senders may contain links that lead to malware.
  • Fake advertisements, coupons or shipping notifications may include infected attachments and/or contain links that lead to malware.
  • Phishing email messages and fraudulent posts on social networking sites may request support for phony causes or offer “too good to be true” deals on merchandise.
  • Security or “fix or tune up your PC” software offered as an unexpected pop-up ad.

Here are 5 tips to use during the holidays:

  1. Don’t shop from your work or school terminal.
  2. Shop from a reputable source: Make sure that the retailer is well known and has a secure URL with the S after HTTP. Ex: (HTTPS://
  3. Use secure WIFI only! If you’re using mobile devices to shop and/or bank, make sure that the WIFI is a secured, known WIFI. Insecure WIFI can pose a threat. Never use open wifi (does not require a passcode); home wifi is the safest option.
  4. Beware of Click Bait! Do not click on advertisement links that will either transfer you to another site or will prompt you to download apps for special offers. These may contain malware, ransomware or other vulnerabilities that can expose your desktop or mobile devices.
  5. Be cautious of Holiday parties and invitations which are most common during this time of year. Most invitations are sent out via email, and require the person to complete a form to RSVP. Spoofed invitations is a way for cybercriminals to conceal phishing emails.


If you believe you are a victim of an online scam or malware campaign, please report it to our Help Desk and consider the following actions:
1. Advise your financial institution immediately of any account information that may have been compromised. Watch for unexplained charges to your account
2. Immediately change any passwords that you might have revealed. If you used the same password for multiple websites make sure to change it for each account, and do not use that same password in the future

View addtional online shopping safety tips at:
Department of Homeland Security
The National Cyber Security Alliance
The Federal Trade Commission

Also refer to our IT security advisories posted at Hunter College Security Notices

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