Holiday season is about to begin. And many of us will surely buy a lot of gifts online. How to protect yourself from online scams is one question that a shopper should always ask. Why? Because scammers and spammers has a lot of medium to sent out their bogus and malicious messages like Facebook, Twitter, and email messages.

McAfee recently released a blog post in their website talking about the top 12 scams of Christmas to watch out for.

“With online holiday shopping expected to grow 12.1 percent in the US alone this year, to as much as $96 billion, and more people than ever using social media and mobile devices to connect, the cybercriminals have a lot of opportunities to spoil our fun,” McAfee global consumer marketing vice president Gary Davis said in a blog post.

how to protect yourself from online scams


According to gmanetwork.com; Gary Davis said this year’s top 12 scams include:

1. Social media scams: Scammers can use sites like Facebook and Twitter to scam consumers during the holidays. Be careful when liking Fan Pages, clicking on fake alerts from friends’ accounts that have been hacked, or installing suspicious “holiday deal” apps that give your private data away. Also beware of Twitter ads and special discounts for popular gifts using blind, shortened links.

2. Malicious Mobile Apps: Be careful not to download a malicious application designed to steal information or send out premium-rate text messages. Make sure that you only download applications from official app stores and check other users’ reviews and the app’s permission policies.

3. Travel Scams: Before booking travel arrangements, beware of scams with too-good-to-be-true deals, phony travel webpages with beautiful pictures and rock-bottom prices. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also warns travelers of a hotel Wi-Fi scam where a malicious pop-up ad prompts computer users to install a popular software product before connecting to their hotel Wi-Fi. Do a security software update before traveling, to guard against the latest scams.

4. Holiday Spam/Phishing: Cheap Rolex watches and pharmaceuticals may be advertised as the “perfect gift” while holiday-themed phishing emails may try to trick you into revealing financial or personal details by posing as an offer from a legitimate business.

5. The new iPad, iPhone 5, and other hot holiday gift scams: Cybercrooks are likely to mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests and phishing emails.

6. Skype Message Scare: A new Skype message scam attempts to infect victims’ machines, and hold their files for ransom. The threat appears as a Skype instant message with the scam line “Lol is this your new profile pic?” Clicking on the link downloads a Trojan onto the computer.

7. Bogus gift cards: Be wary of buying gift cards from third parties and buy instead from the official retailer.

8. Holiday SMiShing or phishing via text message: The scammer tries to lure you into revealing information by pretending to be a legitimate organization.

9. Phony E-tailers: Phony e-commerce sites that appear real will try to lure you into typing in your credit card number and other personal details.

10. Fake charities: Cybercriminals may try to fool you into thinking that they are a real charity, such as the Red Cross, with a “stolen logo and copycat text.” It is safer to visit the charity’s legitimate website.

11. Dangerous e-cards: Some are malicious and may contain spyware or viruses, or download a Trojan.

12. Phony classifieds: Phony offers may ask for too much personal information or ask you to wire funds via Western Union.

Protecting vs scams

How to Protect Yourself From Online Scams this Christmas also provided by McAfee.

1. Stay suspicious of any offer that sounds too good to be true. Look for signs of fraud in an email or website such as low resolution images, misspellings, poor grammar, or odd links.

2. Practice safe surfing.

3. Practice safe shopping and stick to reputable e-commerce sites. Look for a trustmark that indicates that the site has been verified as safe by a trusted third-party, and look for a lock symbol and “https” at the beginning of the web address.

4. Use strong passwords, keeping them at least eight characters long and contain a variety of letters, numbers and characters that don’t spell anything.

5. Be careful when clicking and don’t click on links in messages. Use a URL expander to see where a shortened link leads to before you click.

6. Use a comprehensive computer security.

7. Educate yourself and keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cybercriminals use.


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