Bitdefender published a new report that says the stay-at-home model of working, online shopping, and online banking are perfect hunting grounds for criminals.

Recently, they have started spoofing banking emails more, hoping to defraud customers. More than a third of all incoming emails related to banking and finance were marked as ‘spam’ by Bitdefender in September. By October, the number was up to more than half, before it dropped in November to a bit below a third.

Christmas criminals are coming

Christmas is almost here, and experts warn shoppers to be very cautious when reading emails, especially on smartphones and tablets, where discrepancies are harder to spot. The formatting is almost the same, with accurate color schemes, legitimate logos, and even recognizable industry jargon.

Bitdefender says that one of the best ways to spot a fake email is in the general sense of urgency they usually have. The emails always ask you to share personal or financial information quickly, download something, or click on a link to resolve a security issue.

The criminals have mimicked Standard Bank, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PayPal, Western Union, and La Banque Postale.

You have to watch out

The task is now left to regular email users. The best way to spot phishing emails is to look at the sender’s email address. It looks like the real thing but usually has a typo. The typo should be an obvious giveaway.

That way, you can always confirm, using a phone call, whether the email is legitimate.

Tip: Cybercrime becomes more sophisticated: ‘we can’t continue like this.’