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The 12 Scams of Christmas

By Scam Awareness | December 17, 2015

It's the 12 scams of Christmas, from the folks at McAfee! This holiday season, be sure to watch out for these common scams:

1.  Deceptive Mobile Apps: Some apps such as this one from Instagram are stealing user information and giving it to cybercriminals.

2. Texting scams: Don't allow yourself to sign up for a texting service that will run up your cell phone bill and possibly steal your sensitive information.

3. Online holiday gifts: If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Many links to online contests or out-of-this world deals are probably linked to site that will trick you into downloading malware.

4. Seasonal travel scams: Just like too-good-to-be-true holiday gift deals, the same goes for travel deals. Be wary when booking flights, hotels, cars and excursions online. Always be sure to use reputable websites to avoid giving credit card information to scammers.

5. Malicious E-cards: Some electronic greeting cards contain malware that steal information from your computer. Only open cards from people you know, and check the address the card came from to verify it belongs to a legitimate greeting card company.

6. Deceptive online games: Be careful when downloading the latest games to your phone, tablet or computer. Make sure any downloadable game comes from a reputable app store and check online to see the app's reviews.

7.  False Shipping Notifications: You know those emails with tracking and shipping notifications from shipping companies like UPS and FedEx? Scammers often send fake shipping notifications with links that could lead to identity fraud. A quick tip: make sure you know the sender. Legitimate senders will have all the information they need from you so anyone asking for more information is probably scamming you.

8. Bogus Gift Cards: When purchasing gift cards, make sure they come directly from the retailer and not a third-party seller to avoid losing money and personal information.

9. Text Message Phishing: Cybercriminals pretending to be banks or retailers could text you in order to collect personal information. Be warned: legitimate businesses should not ask for sensitive information over text message. If you are wary about a text, call the business directly and do not reply.

10.   Charity scams: You may be in a giving mood this holiday season but make sure not to give your money to a false charity by being observant of the information you see about the organization and making sure they are legitimate.

11. Romance Scams: With the rise of dating apps and websites, more people are being tricked into giving money to fake people or driven to websites with malware. Do not open links from people you don't know.

12. Phony Retailers: Many websites pose as real retailers that are hoping to get your credit card and personal information. Limit your online shopping to known, trusted retailers.

Thanks to McAfee for identifying these common scams. Read more about them here, at the source.

Stay Safe! 

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