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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Not All Christmas Greetings Have the Best Intentions

It makes more sense in most situations to take advantage of online communication. It's not only environmentally friendlier to limit the amount of paper you use, but it's easier to organize communications within your email's inbox than a file cabinet.

This is especially true during the holiday season, where you won't want to waste your money on postage and expensive greeting cards when you can send the same message through an email. It's not uncommon for you to find your inbox filled with holiday greetings throughout the Christmas season. But beware of which emails you open, because spammers are known to take advantage of revelers' more trusting nature during the holidays, and will pretend to be wishing you a Merry Christmas when they're really just gifting you a computer virus.

If you don't recognize an address, simply ignore the message
Before you open any email, make sure that it comes from an address that you are familiar with, first and foremost. Even if the subject line says that the message comes from a friend or relative, don't take the risk of having all of the information on your computer compromised. If you have files stored on your hard drive with valuable personal identification information (PII) or if an online scammer gets access to it through a virus, they could use your PII to commit identity fraud.

Should the address be foreign but the subject familiar, still be wary
Even if they mention you by name in the subject line of the email you still may be looking at a scam. A friend of yours may have been affected by a virus that got a hold of your email address. Whatever malware that made your email susceptible will only do the same to the contacts in your address book if you open up a dangerous email.

Take extra precautions to guard your computer, and your identity, from scams
Make sure that you have all of your filters and security software intact going into the holiday season should you be the target of a cyber spammer. If your identity gets stolen, there could be long-term damage to your credit score that will certainly put a damper on your holiday season.