Top Holiday Scams Revealed

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With Black Friday 2014 looming on the horizon, prices of various products are seeing steep discounts on daily basis. However, the popularity of various “holiday-inspired” scams is also going up. This year’s biggest holiday shopping scams have already been outlined in McAfee’s annual “12 Scams of the Holidays” research.

Shipping Email Scams – Email continues to be a popular tool for sharing and spreading scams. This holiday season, shoppers should be careful when clicking links in shipping notifications emails. Also, they are advised to rely only on trustworthy and well-known shipping companies.

Deceptive ads – Don’t believe everything you see and read. Around the holidays some websites lineup products at temptingly low prices. However, often their only goals is to steal your personal information. It is best if you do your online shopping from big retailers like Amazon.com or from the company’s official online stores, like the Apple Store or the Microsoft Store.

Fake charities – Since Christmas is the season of giving, scammers will try to use this in their benefit by asking you to donate for some cause. Unfortunately, the charity in question may end up being fake.

Unwanted charges – There are many offers that lure consumers with discounts of 70% or even higher. However, sometimes they also include various unwanted charges, which practically make the generous discount pointless.

App scams – Be extra careful if you are planning to do your holiday shopping through your mobile device. Download only apps of official online shopping websites. Otherwise, you risk exposing your banking details to the wrong crowd.

E-cards with malware – Electronic gift card will continue to be popular during the 2014 holiday season. However, this time around they may also come with a bonus – malware. McAfee advises consumers to purchase gift card only from trustworthy retailers namely for that reason.

Fake online travel deals – Many people prefer to spend the holidays away from home. That has made Christmas one of the busiest holiday travel seasons. However, it has also provided scammers with yet another opportunity to make easy money by offering fake travel deals. To avoid becoming a victim of such a scam, be wary if you see that a deal is super cheap. Also, stick to the details offered on the official websites of the airline or the hotel you are planning to use.

Scammers under cover – Another popular holiday scam comes in the form of a simple phone call. The consumer receives a call and he or she is informed that his or her computer is infected. After that, the scammer under cover is kind enough to offer a helping hand. Instead, however, the result is stolen personal information.

ATM threats – Skimmer devices attached to ATMs (automated teller machines) has also become a common practice around the holidays. To protect yourself from the, cover the ATM’s keypad when you enter your PIN code.

Tagged scams – One relatively new holiday trap for consumers are tagged scams. In other words, those are emails or ad messages, which pop up in your browser or in a mobile app inviting you to click a link. Usually, they are tagged with a phrase that is currently trending on online search engines, like “year in review.”

Careless mobile user effect – Regardless of whether you plan to use your smartphone or tablet during your holiday shopping spree, make sure you lock it. That is especially necessary if you have the habit of leaving your mobile devices unattended. According to McAfee, the 11th most popular scam is shopping through someone else’s smartphone or tablet PC.

USB giveaways – One of the best thing about the winter holidays are the giveaways. However, take only presents offered by retailers and not by random people on the street. The research reports that some scammers “surprise” shoppers with free USB drives through which they spread malware.

Therefore, if you want to avoid these holiday scams, shop only from big and trustworthy retailers. Also, extra secure your devices, be careful on what you click and don’t jump onto deals are seem too good to be true.

Microsoft Store

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