Information Security

‘Tis the Season for Scams

As you spend time with family and friends this holiday season, hackers may be trying harder than ever to infiltrate your computer networks and steal your information. It is critically important to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Some of the most commonly used scams during the holidays include:

n Online Deals: Watch out for deals that seem “too good to be true” and be wary of unfamiliar websites.

n Charities: Make sure any charities to whom you send a donation are reputable and legitimate.

n Gift Cards: Purchase gift cards from credible, well-known retailers, or purchase directly from the store instead. Similarly, check the source before accepting or using free gift cards.

Hackers use a variety of techniques to execute fraudulent activities, but phishing is the most common. To protect against potential phishing scams, look for an unknown sender, a link or URL that requests immediate action, misspellings and grammatical errors, or requests for login credentials or passwords.

To report a suspected phishing email, send the email as an attachment — do not forward it — to the CyberSecurity Operations Center (CSOC) at To do so, press the “Control,” “Alt,” and “F” keys simultaneously to create a new email message with the suspicious email attached (the suspicious email will attach automatically). For more information on how to properly report phishing incidents to the CSOC, download “The Right Way to Report Phishing Incidents” cheat sheet on Blue at

Another technique commonly used by hackers is ransomware. Ransomware is computer malware that locks individuals outside of their networks or devices until a sum of money is paid. To prevent a ransomware attack, be wary of suspicious pop-up advertisements or websites, and do not click on unknown links. Additionally, always back up your data in case you need to reset your device. If you become a victim of ransomware, report it to your manager immediately and notify the CSOC.

For additional information on how to stay cybersafe during the holidays, or to access more information on how to report suspected threats, check out the public-facing CyberSafe at USPS™ website at or the Cybersafe at USPS pages on Blue ( and LiteBlue (