Researchers with Bitdefender’s Antispam Labs have found a startling surge in Halloween-based email and text scams.
They’ve found that nearly half of all Halloween-themed marketing emails are fraudulent, more specifically, only 52% of emails were found to be legitimate marketing lures meant to entice consumers to purchase something. The other 48% were all reported as scams.
“Similar to our 2022 Halloween spam research, spammers continue to exploit consumer-shopping behaviors this year too,” explains Bitdefender. “They continue to serve phony deals on Halloween decorations, sweets, party supplies, and costumes, and even recycle spam campaigns we’ve already seen in 2022.”
The scammers impersonate major retailers like Amazon or Walmart and offer free (and usually very expensive) rewards for completing surveys and paying a very modest shipping fee.
The rewards they’ll offer include Amazon Fire tablets, iPhones, Halloween costumes, ring doorbells, flight vouchers, guitars, and laptops — they’ll use any enticing item made to trick a consumer into providing them with their financial information.
“The Halloween 2023 spam motto has got to be “freebies,” with nearly 27% of analyzed scam emails saying the recipient is about to receive a free gift or can participate in a survey to win gadgets or household items,” researchers say.
They’ll also attempt to phish for your Netflix or Hulu password by sending emails saying your membership has expired. They’ll pretend to give you a free month for being a loyal customer, with the real intent of having you willingly type in your password.
Other scams include a rise in fake dating schemes — an example that researchers highlight is a mass email for a fraudulent dating website for Ukrainian women.
Sophisticated hackers may wait to use your stolen data to obfuscate their activity, making it tough to tell if you’ve been caught up in a scam. It’s important to pay careful attention to your emails and avoid giving out your information or clicking links in unsolicited emails.