NCDIT urges cautious use of email over holiday season

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology is advising people to carefully monitor solicitations and other communications they receive during the coming holiday season. 

Cybercriminals often take advantage of people’s generosity and distractions during the holiday season to gain access to their data, said State Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson. She encourages people to remain vigilant and to follow good cyber hygiene at home and at work.

“Criminals often pose as volunteers or charitable organizations in an attempt to steal your private data or your money,” Thompson said. “Also remember to check on your elderly loved ones. They are often an easy target. Everyone should be careful when giving money or sharing information online even when working with what may seem like a well-established organization.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

To help stop cybercriminals:

• Carefully look at email and web addresses. Cybercriminals will make them look as legitimate as possible, often using variations of spellings. The URL may have a different domain – such as .net or .com – when it should be .gov instead. 

• Do not click on links in emails from unknown senders or those with unverified identitities.

• Take time to look at the sender’s email address. Users should not click any links unless they are certain the organization sending them the links is real. Check the organization’s website for its contact information and use sites such as to verify a charity organization. 

• Those who believe they have been the victim of a scam should change their password immediately.

• Do not use public WiFi to shop. Those who must should use a Virtual Private Network as an added layer of protection.

• Check bank accounts for suspicious transactions, even those of small amounts.

• Make sure all anti-malware software is up-to-date and that email clients provide anti-phishing software. 

Those interested in learning more may contact the North Carolina Consumer Protection Division in the Attorney General’s Office by visiting or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.

– Submitted article