Beware: Twelve More Holiday Scams to Avoid - Slide 8

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Phishing is the act of tricking consumers into revealing information or performing actions they wouldn’t normally do online using phony email or social media posts. Cyber scammers know that most people are busy around the holidays so they tailor their emails and social messages with holiday themes in the hopes of tricking recipients into revealing personal information.

  • A common holiday phishing scam is a phony notice from UPS saying you have a package and need to fill out an attached form to get it delivered. The form may ask for personal or financial details that will go straight into the hands of the cyber scammer.
  • Banking phishing scams continue to be popular and the holiday season means consumers will be spending more money — and checking bank balances more often. From July to September of this year, McAfee Labs identified approximately 2,700 phishing URLs per day.
  • Smishing — SMS phishing — remains a concern. Scammers send their fake messages via a text alert to a phone, notifying an unsuspecting consumer that his bank account has been compromised. The cyber criminals then direct the consumer to call a phone number to get it reactivated — and collects the user’s personal information including Social Security number, address and account details.

‘Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online – shopping for gifts, looking for great holiday deals on new digital gadgets, e-planning family get-togethers and, of course, using online or mobile banking to make sure they can afford it all. But before logging on from a PC, Mac or mobile device, consumers should look out for the “12 Scams of Christmas,” the dozen most dangerous online scams this holiday season, revealed by McAfee.

“With the increase in malware and other attacks on smartphones, tablets and Macs, users need to stay vigilant and ensure they protect all of their devices, not just their home PC – they can’t afford to leave the door open to cyber-grinches during the busy holiday season.”

“Cyber criminals rub their hands with glee when they think of the holidays,” said Gary Davis, director of consumer product marketing at McAfee. “Consumers are making travel plans, shopping for gifts and bargains, updating Facebook and connecting with friends. However, the vast majority have no security protection for their smartphones or tablets, despite using them heavily during the holiday season. Consumers need to stay one step ahead of this season’s cyber scrooges, and make sure they have protection for all of their Internet-enabled devices. Otherwise, they could risk giving the bad guys the biggest gift of all – their own personal and financial information.”

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