The 12 Scams Of Christmas: Common eCommerce Fraud Techniques
Some Internet scams are familiar to all of us. It’s pretty obvious that we’re not actually the 10,000th visitor, you won’t earn money for taking a survey and there is no Nigerian prince in dire need of our assistance.
But as more and more Americans spend more and more money online, fraudsters find innovative new ways to bait consumers into scams. To help customers avoid falling victim to cyber fraud this holiday season, McAfee has released its “12 Scams of Christmas,” outlining different methods cyber criminals use to lure their victims into scamming traps.
Some of the tips are fairly self-evident: free iPhone offers and “too-good-to-be-true” travel offers” need to be avoided. That being said, we take a look at a few subtler traps you might stumble across this holiday season.
Social Media Scams
You’re on Facebook or Twitter and you get a link to a great offer from a “friend.” No problem, right? Scammers love using social media to spread malware or phish for information, as consumers tend to trust these links and the viruses can spread quickly. McAfee notes to be especially careful of shortened links on Twitter, which can appear legit but can redirect you to fraudulent sites.
Malicious Mobile Apps
Mobile shopping and smartphone app use is on the rise, but be careful about what apps you download and from where. Also be leery of what rights you give to apps once you do install them, as apps can steal information, send out text messages without your permission and more. Beware too of holiday “SMiSishing,” which does to your phone’s inbox what phishing does to your email address’ inbox.
Bogus Gift Cards
The gift card industry is booming, and there’s no more popular time for prepaid cards than the holidays. Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this too, and will try to take advantage of one of the season’s most popular gifts. Don’t buy from third-party sites, and don’t fall for surveys or schemes that offer you free gift cards for participation or information.
You may think you’re safe going to a major retailer or merchant site, but make sure you enter the address correctly, and that any checkout procedure you go through is verified as secure. There are plenty of phony ecommerce sites try to look like their major legitimate counterparts, and your financial security is in serious jeopardy if you make a “purchase” from one of these sites.
To read the McAfee’s other eight scams, and to read some interesting shopping stats, read the full story here.
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