Don’t Be Fooled This Holiday Season: 12 Scams of Christmas [INFOGRAPHIC]
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, people are crowding stores and/or firing up their digital gadgets to find the best deals on each item on their gift lists.
While most of us are doing everything we can to bring a smile to the faces of our loved ones, McAfee is reminding the public to stay vigilant as scammers are also running their own “holiday specials” in hopes of stealing your personal information and holiday funds.
Learn more about the “12 Scams of Christmas” that you should be watching out for if you decide to purchase gifts online.
- Not-So-Merry Mobile Apps
With every shopping season comes a new wave of mobile apps vying for the opportunity to help you locate the best deals in town, or seasonal version of popular games. Tread carefully, though, for these apps can just be a front for a data-stealing Trojan. Protect your phone & data by sticking to official app stores, reading user reviews & carefully checking required permissions before installing.
- Holiday Mobile SMS Scams
No clicking links in unsolicited SMS ads or providing your mobile number to random websites – scammers will use your mobile # to sign you up for expensive premium SMS services or convince you to download malicious apps outside of the official app stores.
- Hot Holiday Gift Scams
Scammers will offer great deals on hot commodity items, like the new Xbox One or PS4 to trick users into providing their personal information or downloading malware. Stick to retailors you know, and keep your personal details private.
- Seasonal Travel Scams
Will you be traveling for the holidays? Make sure you book any reservations or flights with reputable travel sites. Cybercriminals will often advertise bogus travel deals in hopes of stealing your credit card number.
- Dangerous E-Seasons Greetings
Did you get an e-card from an unknown sender? Don’t open it! Cybercriminals often send out holiday e-cards laced with malicious links and/or file attachments.
- Deceptive Online Games
Planning on getting some new games for you or the kids? Be sure to get them from reputable websites & check user reviews if you download them online. Cybercriminals will often take popular titles & wrap them with malware before offering them to the public for a lower price.
- Shipping Notifications Shams
Cybercriminals know that folks will be expecting packages to arrive throughout the month, so they will send out fake delivery notices to try and get you to click a malicious link, download malware or disclose personal information. Carefully inspect any shipping notices & manually type in website addresses whenever possible.
- Bogus Gift Cards
Can’t decide on a gift? Gift cards are a good way to go, but make sure you buy them directly from the retailer in question and not some third-party to avoid being scammed.
- Holiday SMiShing
Scammers will attempt to steal sensitive information by posing as a bank or financial institution via text message and asking you to confirm or provide personal information in order to avoid account suspension.
- Fake Charities
If you plan on giving to those in need this holiday season, take a moment to verify that the charity you’re looking to donate to is legitimate. Cybercriminals have been known to setup fake charity websites to collect your donations – and all of the personal & financial details that come with them.
- Romance Scams
We all want someone special to spend the holidays with, but if you look for love online then make sure you don’t get taken for a ride that could cost you thousands of real dollars. Scammers will setup profiles on dating sites and feed sob stories to anyone that will listen to dupe the victim into sending them hoards of cash.
- Phony E-Tailers
Cybercriminals don’t just mimic charities; they also setup fake retailer websites as well. Always double-check the URL before completing a transaction to make sure you’re not buying from a bogus website.