A CHRISTMAS con that empties your bank account is the last thing you want this holiday season.

Security experts are warning users to be extra vigilant as crooks prey on unsuspecting victims over the holidays.

Email apps have plenty of protections – but they can't stop you from handing your info to criminals

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Email apps have plenty of protections – but they can’t stop you from handing your info to criminalsCredit: Getty

Christmas is a popular time for crooks to target victims.

But if you know the signs, you can stay safe from their sinister tricks.

“Be wary of phishing scams,” said Keeper Security’s Aranza Trevino in an official warning to gadget users.

“Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals where malicious emails are disguised as ‘real’ emails coming from legitimate companies to get individuals to reveal personal information.

“Such as passwords and credit card information.

“Phishing emails have become harder to spot with the rise of AI. Always check who sent you the email.

“And if the email contains a too-good-to-be-true offer, then chances are it’s malicious email.”

In the security memo, experts revealed that you should watch out for a phrase like: “From Amaz0n: Congrats! You won a Free Gift Card! Simply enter your credit card number to claim here.”

Most read in News Tech

They may be pitched to you as a special Christmas offer or gift – even on trusted email apps like Google Gmail or Microsoft Outlook.

However, the message itself may vary – and may be far more convincing than the one above.

Crooks can craft highly sophisticated messages that look almost exactly like official emails.

So it’s important that you question every single email offering you something for free.

If you’re unsure, consider verifying the claims in the email with the actual company.

For instance, you could try messaging Amazon’s customer support through the official website to check whether the email is a scam.

But remember not to use any contact details in the email – they may be fraudulent.

Other scams to watch out for over the holidays

Sadly phishing scams aren’t the only kind of Christmas con.

Keeper Security also warned over gift card fraud.

That’s when someone will list an item for sale on a website like Facebook Marketplace with a very low price – and ask for a gift card as payment.

Once you hand over the gift card code, they disappear – and you’re left with less money and no item.

This scam is common at Christmas because so many people are rushing to buy products.

Another common trick is the imposter scam, which preys on your emotions.

It involves messaging you pretending to be a loved one and asking for some money.

Read more on The Sun

This might sound farfetched, but it can be extremely convincing and is surprisingly common.

Crooks may even have hacked your family member’s WhatsApp or Facebook account to carry out the con.

This post first appeared on Thesun.co.uk

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