Helping you balance your online life

Nov 26th


Top 12 Scams of the Holiday Season

It's that time of year again-a season filled with holiday cheer, comforting food, colorful lights, family and friends, uplifting music and online shopping scams. Wait, what?! Yes, you read it correctly; unfortunately, this season may bring with it some unwanted virtual gifts if you aren't extra careful when shopping online.

Online Shopping Scams

Don't worry, you can still avoid the crowded malls and long lines by shopping online, you just need to keep in mind some basic safety tips. McAfee's 12 Scams of the Holidays! helps us all avoid the hackers and thieves preying on our joyful gift giving. Here's McAfee's list of the top 12 scams to avoid this season:
  1. Email Shipping Confirmations: Think twice before clicking links in shipping notification emails, and always verify the shipping company before giving out your personal information.
  1. Deceptive Advertising: Beware of deals that are too good to be true as they could steal your personal information and ruin your holiday cheer.
  1. Chilling Charities: 'Tis the season to donate, but be wary of fake charities. Do your research and double-check the site URL.
  1. Buyer Beware: Check your credit card statements to make sure you don't have unwanted charges as a result of a point-of-sale breach.
  1. iScams: Today, smartphones act as a phone, but also a credit card, house key, camera and more. Malware can access your device via apps, so do your research and stick to official app stores to download.
  1. Getting Carded: Avoid the unwanted gift of malware and always verify that e-cards are from someone you know and a trustworthy site.
  1. Holiday Travel Scams: Avoid fake online deal links offering low price airfare or hotel rooms that could be a trap. Think before you click.
  1. Robocall Scam: Be suspicious of phone calls from people who claim your computer is infected and request your personal information to fix it.
  1. ATM Skimming: Need cash in a hurry? Beware of using automated teller machines (ATMs), as a skimmer device designed to steal data off the card may be installed. Look carefully at the ATM and cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
  1. Year in Review Traps: While a "Year in Review" sounds entertaining to read, clicking on these links could infect your devices.
  1. BYO...Device: With the hustle and bustle of the season, smartphones & wallets could easily be lost or stolen in the shuffle. Don't leave your smartphone unattended during the hectic holiday season as it could give hackers access to your personal and work information.
  1. Bad USB Blues: Be wary of free USB drives that are often used as giveaways. This method is an easy way for hackers to spread malware.
Keep these tips in mind while celebrating the holiday season. No need to stress or avoid online shopping-just take a little extra time and make sure you're being careful when purchasing gifts this year.

You can make your devices more secure before the online shopping begins, by adding antivirus protection from trusted names like McAfee or Norton, or extra layers of security with DataMask. If you're planning to use public WiFi at airports, malls, or coffee shops, Private WiFi helps protect your devices from hackers attempting to steal your information.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season, filled with joy and free of scams!