Phishing activity increased 400 percent as consumers began their holiday shopping over the first two week of November, according to a new report by Zscaler.

Zscaler compared the number of phishing attacks during the first 14 days of October to the first 14 days of November and found that the uptick in online shopping provides threat actors with an opportunity to launch phishing attacks. Mock Amazon emails, text message giveaways, and PayPal lookalikes all front fraudulent links that can compromise bank accounts and personal information.

To avoid falling victim, Zscaler recommends using extra caution while online this time of year. The organization suggests enabling two-factor authentication, maintaining a secure connection, and avoiding links from unknown senders to protect oneself.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is also asking consumers to use caution when shopping online. Shopping through trusted sources, using safe methods for purchases, and keeping devices up to date can all help combat fraudulent activity.

“The holiday season is a prime time for hackers, scammers, and online thieves,” CISA Director Christopher Krebs said in a press release. “The good news is you don’t need to be a cybersecurity pro to defend yourself.  It’s often the simple things that make a big difference in protecting yourself and your family from cyber threats and scams.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.