Gil the Phish Tempts with Gifts

Phishers like Gil never take a vacation. Now that the holiday season is drawing to a close, perpetrators of phishing schemes are using new tactics to lure unsuspecting recipients into their nets.

fish mascot illunstraion representing Gil the Phish

Gil the Phish by Chad Bennett

One such scam involves enticing the recipient of a phishing attempt with free gifts. You may receive unsolicited but familiar-looking e-mails with offers to “Start Your 2020 with a Free Gift from Us.” Be cautious with these e-mails. They usually involve confirming delivery details for a free gift and paying a small fee for shipping costs.

The e-mails often include a link to a tracking code. When a recipient clicks on the link, they are asked to pay the balance on a shipping fee (sometimes as low as $1) in order to pick up the free gift. This is a ploy to obtain the recipient’s credit card information. Some phishers will automatically “decline” the credit card number entered, in an effort to get a second credit card number from the recipient. There is no gift for the e-mail recipient at the end of this process.

To avoid getting caught in Gil’s phishing net in the new year, be aware that these so-called gifts may be attempts to steal your personal and financial information. More information about this scheme and how to protect yourself can be found here:

For more information about protecting yourself from phishing attempts, please visit the Office of Information Security’s phishing guidance page.

If you think you have received a phishing e-mail, please reach out to