12 Days of Christmas Another Opportunitiy for Scammers — Dave’s Diary
Stand down partridge in a pear tree. There is a new 12 days song to sing and it doesn’t make for a very merry Christmas. I’m talking about the 12 scams of Christmas! Its the ying and yang of life–for every Santa there is a Grinch, a cyber-criminal waiting in the wings to turn all that holiday cheer into fast cash as he spreads his scams and malware. Be a smart and savvy online shopper and pay attention to these holiday scams.
Before you hit the “buy now” button, beware the number one risk of online shopping.
The 12 scams of Christmas, according to McAfee:
1. Not-So-Merry Mobile Apps
Look into all mobile apps carefully before downloading anything onto your mobile devices. Check the comments section and confirm the app’s legitimacy directly with the parties that the software claims are involved.
2. Holiday Mobile SMS Scams
Double-check that the “download” button is legitimate when attempting to install new apps on your phone. Use antivirus software.
3. Hot Holiday Gift Scams
If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your best to verify “low low” prices on this season’s biggest sellers.
4. Seasonal Travel Scams
Prior to traveling, make sure all of your security software is up-to-date and consider running a virus scan while you’re sunning by the pool or curling up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Also, if you’re asked for a username and password after clicking a link (or any time you didn’t browse directly to the page you’re attempting to access), try using a fake input on the first login attempt. The extra few seconds it takes to load confirms that the page is actually looking for valid username/password combinations; scam sites will let you right in.
5. Dangerous E-Seasons Greetings
Check all the email cards you receive carefully for any suspicious misspellings in the sender’s name or the name of the card company itself. If you see any cause for concern, do a search online for any additional information about the site from which the message originated.
6. Deceptive Online Games
Only download or buy games from reputable websites, check in with retailers about the legitimacy of a deal you see advertised, and talk your children about how to spot and avoid online potential scams.
7. Shipping Notifications Shams
Always check the domain name on shipping notification alerts and be cautious of any that you receive when you have not requested them or even sent a package in the first place.
8. Bogus Gift Cards
Many of those “too good to be true” gift card deals are just that–too good to be true. So stick to purchasing directly from the official retailer rather than from third parties online and ensure that your money goes towards a gift and not into a scammer’s pocket.
9. Holiday SMiShing
Combine SMS text messages and phishing and you get SMiShing, yet another way cybercriminals are looking to ruin your holiday fun. Legitimate banking and credit card companies should never ask you for personal information over a text message. If you receive a message like this, contact your bank directly via phone, secure website, or in-person.
10. Fake Charity
If you want to donate to a worthy cause this year, do a little background research on the charity in question and think twice before sharing any type of personal information on a website that looks less than legitimate.
11. Romance Scams
Stick with trustworthy dating sites when looking for digital love, and always be wary about giving out personal information of any kind to websites or individuals you encounter online.
12. Phony E-Tailers
Double-check the IP addresses on the sites you use for shopping, and look for customer reviews and other information to verify an e-tailer’s legitimacy.