Scams are all over the Internet, run by ill-intentioned people hoping your careless or gullible enough to fall into their traps. They want your name, your email address, your passwords and, most of all, your money.
Yes, people have been warning you about scams for years. You know what to look for.
That may be true, but the uniqueness of these operations is exactly what makes them so threatening. How often do you click on a link before you’ve finished reading what it is? How often do you download new apps to your smart phone or accidentally touch something that pops up on your tablet? There’s a reason you constantly read about scam warnings: People fall for them, sometimes accidentally.
Cybersecurity firm McAfee released its annual “12 Scams of the Holidays” list, which aims to inform consumers of the schemes they’re likely to encounter during one of the busiest times of the year, which also happens to be a time when people can be a little loose with their finances. Here are the reasons you should keep your guard up:
1. You’ve got mail! Most people shop online during the holidays and your more likely to fall for a phishing scam, disguised as an alert about your order or an important note about something you may have on your mind during the holidays.
2. Deceptive advertising-There are plenty of great deals, giveaways and fantastic promotions to get in on during the holidays (plenty of fake ones too)
3. Questionable chartities-Fake charities are huge issues at the end of the year because most legitimate organizations are scrambling to meet fundraising goals. Make sure your donating to a legitimate cause.
4. Buyer beware-Malware attacks on major retailers in the US are happening at an alarming rate. There really isn’t anything that you can do except to go to an all cash payment during the holidays. Always keep an eye on your bank account activities.
5. Iscams or some questionable apps-Download with caution because an appealing app may be just a front for a scammer trying to steal your personal information.
6. Getting carded-If you are expecting an e-card, watch out for other holiday invites that hit your inbox. Dont click on a card from a site you don’t recognize or interact with.
7. Travel scams-there are a few risks associated with travel, using wi-fi networks and devices on the road. You need to be sure the network your working on is secure-you never know who else is on that public connection.
8. Bank robocall scam-scammers will try to trick you by impersonating your financial institution telling you your information has been compromised. Do not divulge any information to them and hang up. Look at the customer service number on the back of your bank card and call them to verify any concerns you have.
9. ATM Skimming-Criminals install skimming devices on ATMs and gas pump card readers so they can copy your debit &/or credit card information and make fraudulent purchases. Check the machines for signs of tampering and always cover the keypad when entering your pin.
10. Any articles sent to you that say, ” Year in review” are traps, do not opening them at all.
11. Make sure you put security measures on your smart phones, tablets and laptops. In case they are misplaced or stolen, you will have your information protected and make it very difficult for an outsider to access anything important.
12. Do not accept free USBs in a gift basket or handed out to the public. McAfee warns that these are popular giveaways and sometimes preloaded with malware that will spread when connected to a device. If you need one, they are very inexpensive now to purchase.
Excercise caution during this holiday season-keep track of your account activities. Staying on top of your finances is essential! Happy holidays!