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Are you aware of the 12 scams of Christmas? McAfee explains

Christmas is coming, but many still don't know how to identify a secure shopping site

Article comments

Online shopping is particularly popular this time of the year, with campaigns, sales and special deals galore available from retailers. Security vendor McAfee has come up with a list of particularly nasty scams that could easily trick anyone.

Watch out for: 

Social media scams - Scammers use channels, like Facebook and Twitter, just like email and websites to scam consumers. McAfee warns consumers to be careful when clicking or liking posts, while taking advantage of contests, ads and special deals that they get from "friends" that advertise exclusive discounts, holiday-related jobs postings.

Malicious mobile apps - As smartphone users download over 25 billion apps for Android devices alone, the popularity of applications has grown, so have the chances that a user could download a malicious application designed to steal information or send out premium-rate text messages.

Travel Scams - Scammers are looking to hook users with too-good-to-be-true deals. McAfee said to beware of phony travel webpages that use beautiful pictures and rock-bottom prices.

Holiday spam/phishing - According to McAfee, many of these spam emails will take on holiday themes.

iPhone 5, iPad mini and other holiday gift scams - Cybercrooks will mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests and phishing emails as a way to grab computer users' attention and to reveal personal information or click on a malware infested link.

Skype message scare - People should be aware of a new Skype message scam that attempts to infect their machine, and even hold their files for ransom.

Bogus gift cards - McAfee said the number of bogus gift cards is on the rise during this holiday season and that people should be wary of buying gift cards from third parties.

Holiday SMiShing - "SMiShing" is phishing via text message. Just like with email phishing, the scammer tries to lure users into revealing information.

Phony E-tailers - Phony e-commerce sites, that appear legitimate, try to lure users into typing in credit card number and other personal details, often by promoting great deals.

Fake charities - McAfee said this is one of the biggest scams of every holiday season.

Dangerous e-cards - E-Cards are a popular way to send a quick "thank you" or holiday greeting, but some are malicious and may contain spyware or viruses that download onto a computer once a user clicks on the link to view the greeting.

Phony classifieds - According to McAfee, online classified sites may be a great place to look for holiday gifts and part-time jobs, but phony offers ask for too much personal information or ask to wire funds.

"The first step in ensuring your personal details stay safe and secure at this busy time is to check your security protection -- on your mobile devices as well as your PC," Duca added.


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