12 Scams of Christmas

Jordan Crawford | 12/12/2013, 9:54 a.m.
The BBB says people should be aware of suspicious situations since the holiday season is when most criminals strike.

5-Dangerous E-Seasons Greetings- Legitimate-looking e-cards wishing friends “Season’s Greetings” can cause unsuspecting users to download “Merry Malware” such as a Trojan or other virus after clicking a link or opening an attachment;

6-Deceptive Online Games- Before your kids are glued to their newly downloaded games, be wary of the games’ sources. Many sites offering full-version downloads of Grand Theft Auto, for example, are often laden with malware, and integrated social media pages can expose gamers, too;

7-Shipping Notifications Shams- Phony shipping notifications can appear to be from a mailing service alerting you to an update on your shipment, when in reality, they are scams carrying malware and other harmful software designed to infect your computer or device;

8-Bogus Gift Cards- An easy go-to gift for the holidays, gift cards can be promoted via deceptive ads, especially on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites, that claim to offer exclusive deals on gift cards or packages of cards and can lead consumers to purchase phony ones online;

9-Holiday SMiShing- During the holidays, SMiShing is commonly seen in gift card messages, where scammers pose as banks or credit card companies asking you to confirm information for “security purposes”. Some even include the first few digits of your credit card number in the SMS message to fool you into a false sense of safety;

10-Fake Charities- Donating to charities is common this time of year for many looking to help the less fortunate. However, cybercriminals capitalize on this generosity, especially during natural disaster events, and set up fake charity sites and pocket the donations;

11-Romance Scams- With so many niche dating sites now available to Internet users, it can be difficult to know exactly who the person is behind the screen. Many messages sent from an online friend can include phishing scams, where the person accesses your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details; and

12-Phony E-Tailers- The convenience of online shopping does not go unnoticed by cyber scrooges. With so many people planning to shop online, scammers set up phony e-commerce sites to steal your money and personal data.

To keep from having to deal with these inconveniences and ensure a happy holiday season, McAfee says people should review their mobile apps carefully before downloading them, if a deal or steal seems too good to be true then it probably is, research before sharing personal information, and be cautious when traveling.

Preventing theft can be just a matter of taking a few extra steps. Don’t let thieves do their holiday shopping from your belongings purchased with your hard earned money.