With the help of software security company McAfee we take a look at the ’12 Scams of Christmas’, from too good to be true iPad offers to charity scams to ‘Smishing’. Criminals are simply seeking your personal information and money.
According to McAfee the 12 scams to be aware of this festive season are:
1. iPad offers – as the must have gadget this Christmas, a popular scam involves getting a consumer to enter their credit card details in return for a free iPad. Sound too good to be true, yes it most likely is!
2. ‘Help! I’ve been robbed’ scam – sadly you may get such a text from a family member or friend claiming to be in trouble and need money to get home. This of course would be distressing but be aware if they are contacting you from an unknown number or only text and don’t call, the cry for help is likely to be fake.
3. Fake gift cards – as good as it can be, social media is often used to promote fake gift cards. Personal information is sought, including bank details. Cybercrooks are looking to get this and either sell on to marketers or use it for identity theft.
4. Holiday jobs, working from home – if you’re offered large sums of money for perhaps working from home for a few hours it’s highly likely the job doesn’t exist. The issue is you are encouraged to apply and as part of the application divulge personal information, which is all the fraudsters want to assist with identity fraud.
5. Smishing – this is sending a ‘phishing’ message via text. Basically you are asked via the text, purporting to be from your bank or online retailer, to provide personal details to deal with a problem with your account. Again this is simply criminals gaining access to your information and taking the opportunity to target you when you are likely to be doing more online shopping.
6. Dubious holiday rentals – if you see a great offer that seems too good to be true and it just needs you to secure it with a deposit, probably is too good to be true. It’s your deposit that’s sought!
7. Recession scams – it seems that spam emails offfering low interest loans or easy access to credit cards are on the rise as those looking for short term loans for the Christmas period are targeted. Be careful.
8. Malicious Greeting Cards – whilst e-cards can be a great way of sending holiday greetings to family and friends, unfortunately cyber criminals are also increasingly using them to send viruses and malware. Be warned and make sure you know the sender before you open such cards.
9. Low prices – if a website offers goods at prices way below competitors be careful – the site could well be a front for criminals simply seeking to get your money and your personal information.
10. Charity scams – spam emails supposedly seeking donations to charity are rife at this time of year. Don’t click through on such emails to charity website addresses given, they may well be false. If you do want to make a donation visit the official website of the charity directly.
11. Dangerous downloads – be aware that viruses can readily be spread through such as festive screen savers or jingles.
12. Holiday airport and WiFi – using an unsecured WiFi internet connection at airports can provide criminals with ideal targets. Be careful.