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Scam Easter Basket Packed with Fake Vouchers, Viagra and Religious Fraud

Cyber-criminals are hiding dangerous goodies among the Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies that users are hoping for, warns antivirus software provider Bitdefender.

The increasing wave of dangerous spam hitting the US, the UK and other countries these days invades users’ inboxes with offers for fake vouchers, personal loans, replica watches and dubious candy surveys. Personalized Easter baskets, bunnies, and gifts are also packed with dangerous fraudulent links.

Scam Easter Basket Packed with Fake Vouchers, Viagra and Religious FraudFake Viagra shops and religious scams are also included in this year’s Easter scam basket. Users are invited to discover God’s plan with their life in one moment and are tempted with holiday Viagra offers the next.

“One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves around Easter is, ‘What does God actually want for and from me? Jesus died on the cross to provide for my salvation, how can I ever repay the debt?’,” spam directed to “all Christian members” reads.

Scam Easter Basket Packed with Fake Vouchers, Viagra and Religious FraudScammers seem to have no qualms either when it comes to creating fake charities. A bogus Society for Integrative Oncology has been recently registered and awaits donations.

“Please contribute as much as your means will allow,” the fraudulent website reads. Contributions via PayPal not only leave good-hearted people without $50 to $3,500, but also without control of their personal details, which are used for identity theft. Banking information stolen during the attack includes card numbers, security codes and expiration dates.

Scam Easter Basket Packed with Fake Vouchers, Viagra and Religious FraudFraudsters have also created a fake holiday website that allegedly allows users to rent an apartment in countries such as the US, the UK, Portugal, France or Malta. Easter tourists are also targeted via spam with Safari itineraries.

Participating in dubious surveys for Easter candy or Walmart rewards may also relieve victims of their personal details and savings right before the holidays.

Bitdefender reminds users to steer clear of holiday scams by following a few security tips and tricks:

• Don’t click on shipping notifications from e-mail addresses you have never heard off – they may be phishing scams or contain malware, especially if they come with attachments.

• Avoid donating your “likes” and money on social networks such as Facebook, where scammers promote fake charitable cases.

• Avoid requests for charitable contributions via e-mail, too, as they may be phishing scams. It’s better to donate to an organization that you trust.

• Don’t open electronic greeting cards, as they may contain Trojans or other malware.

• Be careful when shopping online for Easter. Check your secured “https” connection and make sure the online shop doesn’t redirect you to a dubious payment gateway. Avoid shopping from unsecured Wi-Fi connections, as hackers may access your credentials and banking information.

• Install an antivirus solution and keep it updated. It will protect you from spam, phishing, malware, 0-day attacks and other e-threats.

Last year, for Easter, cyber-criminals “arranged” a 50% off sale for Easter Flowers, cash deposits and miracle weight-loss plants to keep people in shape no matter how much they ate during the holidays. For extra information on the top scam emails around the year, check Bitdefender’s infographic on HotForSecurity.

This article is based on the spam samples provided courtesy of Bitdefender Anti-Spam Researcher Ionut RAILEANU.

About The Author

Security Specialist

Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who’s always on to a cybertrendy story. She’s the industry news guru, who’ll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.

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