Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
December 20, 2023 ·  4 min read

Warning Issued to Anyone with a Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo Account

Prepare for an inundation of e-mail scams in your inbox over the next fortnight, caution security experts, targeting millions of Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, and Yahoo email users. With a surge in online shopping leading up to Christmas and the anticipation of Boxing Day sales, the potential for cyber crooks to dupe shoppers is at its peak.

A recent study by McAfee Labs estimates that a total of 10 million e-mail scams are about to go out

They’re poised to inundate inboxes on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Security experts from the widely used anti-virus provider have warned about deceptive delivery messages. It is a challenging scam to detect when managing multiple couriers for undelivered Christmas presents. Scammers frequently employ tactics such as fake deals, promising discounts, and giveaways to entice users to click on fraudulent links embedded within emails.

People should exercise heightened caution regarding emails claiming to highlight issues with online orders and messages purporting to be from their bank. As cautioned by McAfee researchers. These fraudulent schemes are among the most successful tactics employed by cybercriminals.

Gmail, a prevalent email client, has been identified by McAfee as one of the primary targets for scammers aiming to exploit millions during the bustling Christmas shopping season. “Cybercriminals use phishing emails or fake sites to lure people into clicking links that could lead to malware,” warned Vonny Gamot, Head of EMEA at McAfee.

“With an additional 10 million online threats expected on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, it’s never been more important to approach festive deals or unexpected order and delivery updates with a skeptical eye. Even if an email or text appears legitimate, it’s always best to go directly to the source. Whether it’s an online retailer or delivery provider.” He continued.

Read: Woman’s Twitter Thread Breaks Down How She Scammed A Scammer Back

Criminals only do this as it proves to be very successful

Warning Issues to Anyone with a Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo Account
Image Credit: Torsten Dettlaff Pexels

Regrettably, scammers intensify their email bombardment during the festive period due to high success rates. Research indicates that 1 in 5 users has fallen victim to an online scam during the Christmas season, with 61% of them suffering financial losses to cybercriminals.

Many scams are effective because the scammer creates a false sense of urgency or preys on a heightened emotional state,” added Ms. Gamot. “Pause before you rush to interact with any message that is threatening or urgent. Especially if it is from an unknown or unlikely sender.”

UK Finance data reveals that Britons alone were defrauded of £41 million in the first six months of the year, and with an anticipated surge in scams in the days ahead, this figure may rise. Ms. Gamot emphasized the critical importance of keeping online safety and data privacy in mind throughout the Christmas period to ensure a joyful holiday season and thwart the cyber grinch.

“If you receive an email asking you to click on a link, even if it’s a great-sounding deal or indicates it’ll provide useful information, it’s best to avoid interacting with the message altogether. Always go direct to the source and interact with reputable companies.”

Here are a few useful tips to stay safe from e-mail scams

To stay a step ahead of scammers, McAfee Labs offers two easily memorable tips to help you steer clear of potential Christmas cons.

Think before you click

Cybercriminals heavily rely on phishing emails or counterfeit websites to entice you into clicking links that may lead to malware. If you receive an email prompting you to click on a link, even if the offer, discount code, or prize draw seems enticing, you should refrain from engaging with the message. Instead, close your Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo inbox and directly visit the source. If the email was legitimate, you’ll find the same deal on the official platform.

Worry about a deal that seems too good to be true

Adhering to the age-old adage – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many scams aim to create a false sense of urgency, preying on heightened emotional states. Before hastily interacting with a message, especially one from an unknown or unexpected sender, take a moment to pause. Be cautious about deals that seem too good to be true, as they often signal potential scams.

Keep Reading: Shopper Exposes The Scam That He Says Many Retailers Are Getting Away With


  1. Warning to Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo users: You can’t ignore this security advice over the next fortnight.” GB News. Aaron Brown. December 18, 2023
  2. Urgent warning to anyone with a Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail and Yahoo account.” Metro UK. Katherine Fidler. December 14, 2023