Not So Merry: The 12 Scams of Christmas

03/18/15

With the holiday shopping season geared up, consumers are crowding stores or firing up their mobile devices to get a great deal. But watch out for these dirty dozen ripoffs!

1. Not-so-merry apps. With every shopping season comes a new wave of mobile apps vying for the opportunity to help you locate the best deals in town, or seasonal versions of popular games. Tread carefully: These apps are often fronts for a data-stealing Trojan.

2. Mobile SMS scams. Never click links in unsolicited text ads or provide your mobile number to random websites; scammers will sign you up for expensive services or convince you to download malicious apps.

3. Hot holiday gifts. Con artists will offer too-good-to-be-true deals on hot items such as new video games. Don’t be fooled!

4. Seasonal travel. Cybercriminals often advertise bogus travel deals in hopes of stealing your credit card number.

5. Dangerous e-cards. Did you get an e-card from an unknown sender? It may be laced with malicious links or attachments.

6. Deceptive games. Buy all games from reputable websites; scammers take popular titles, wrap them in malware, and sell them to the public at a low price.

7. Sham shipping. Con men send out fake delivery notices to trick victims into clicking malicious links.

8. Bogus gift cards. Always buy these cards directly from retailers.

9. Holiday SMiShing. Scammers steal sensitive information by sending text messages, supposedly from a bank or financial institution.

10. Fake charities. If you plan on giving to those in need, verify that the charity is legitimate.

11. Romance ripoffs. Scammers set up profiles on dating sites, then dupe victims into sending them cash—supposedly to buy gifts for their mom or kids.

12. Phony e-tailers. Cybercriminals set up fake websites, then drain your cash and personal information.

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