McAfee 12 Scams of the Holidays

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‘This the season to be careful. Avoid the 12 Scams of the Holidays

Keep Your Holiday Cheer and Avoid the 12 Scams of the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and amid the hustle and bustle 70%1 of us will fire up our devices to shop for gifts, make travel plans and spread cheer. But while we’re getting festive, the cybercriminals are getting ready to take advantage of the influx of online shopping and activities to spread scams intended to stead your identity, invade your privacy or cause financial loss. Make sure you avoid
these 12 scams:

  1. Phony E-tailers

    Phony sites try to lure you into typing in your credit card and personal details by promoting great deals. Now they have your money and information, and you never receive anything.

  2. Malicious Mobile Apps

    Be careful when downloading apps, as you could download a malicious app designed to steal your information or charges to your phone bill.

  3. Travel Scams

    Phony travel web pages with beautiful pictures and oo-good-to-be-true deals are used to get you to hand over your financial details.

  4. Holiday Spam/Phishing

    You'll soon be seeing cheap Rolex watches and pharmaceuticals advertised as the "perfect gift" for that special someone.

  5. iPhone 5, iPad and Hot Holiday Gift Scams

    Cybercrooks will use great deals on hot holiday gifts in phony contests and phishing emails as a way get you to reveal personal information or click on a link that could download malicious software to your PC.

  6. Skype Message Scare

    Be wary of instant messages with the line "Lol is this your new profile pic?" as when you click the link, your PC is infected their machine, and your files could be held for ransom.

  1. Bogus Gift Cards

    Cybercriminals can’t help but want to get in on the action by offering bogus gift cards online. Be wary of buying gift cards from third parties and buy directly from the retailer.

  2. Holiday SMiShing

    Using text messages, scammers try to lure you into revealing personal information by pretending to be a legitimate organization.

  3. Social Media Scams

    Beware of ads and postings for phony contests, and “stay at home” jobs from your Facebook and Twitter “friends.”

  4. Fake Charities

    In this season of giving, the bad guys are hoping to get in on the giving by sending spam emails advertising fake charities.

  5. Dangerous E-cards

    E-cards are popular way to send a quick “thank you” or holiday greeting, but some may contain spyware or viruses that download onto your computer once you click to view the
    greeting.

  6. Phony Classifieds

    Beware of phony offers that ask for too much personal information or to wire funds via Western Union, since these are most likely scams.

Protect Yourself During the Holidays, and Year-Round

Here are some tips to stay protected so that you’re not haunted by the scams of holidays past, present and future:

  • Stay suspicious-Be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true, and always look for telltale signs that an email or website may not be legitimate, such as low resolution images, misspellings, poor grammar, or odd links.
  • Practice safe surfing-Use a safe search plug-in such as McAfee SiteAdvisor® software, that alerts you to potentially risky sites with small green, yellow and red icons next to your search results
  • Practice safe shopping-Stick to reputable e-commerce sites and look for a trustmark that indicates that the site has been verified as safe by a trusted third-party, like the McAfee SECURE™ mark. Also, look for a lock symbol and “https” at the beginning of the URL to see if the site uses encryption to protect your data.
  • Use strong passwords-Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long and use a combination of letters, numbers and characters that don’t spell anything. Avoid using the same password for your important accounts, and never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Be careful when clicking-Don’t click on any links in messages from people you don’t know, and if you come across a shortened URL, use a URL expander to see where the link is directed to before you click.
  • Use a comprehensive security on all your devices-Make sure you have up-to-date security software on all your devices, like McAfee All Access, that can safeguard your privacy, protect against identity theft, and defend against viruses and online threats. 
  • Educate yourself-Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cybercriminals use so you can avoid potential attacks. You can find helpful information on the McAfee Facebook page and McAfee Security Advice Center.

So before you shop online, make sure you remember what to look out for. Have a happy and safe holiday!

To learn more about the 12 Scams of the Holidays, check out our blog or press release.