Friday, November 19, 2010

12 most dangerous online scams coming this Christmas

Christmas, the season of gifts and travelling has people shopping over the internet day and night. Along with them are also the cybercriminals working hard to hack consumer information, their money and identities. McAfee, the anti-virus software solution for home and business users warns of the scams that could sadden your holiday season. It is called the "Twelve Scams of Christmas."1)iPad Offer ScamsApple iPad is one of the most sought after gadget of the year and is one of top products on a shopper's list. Taking advantage of this, scammers are announcing offers of free iPads. The consumers are asked to purchase different products and then provide their credit card number for the free iPad. Another scam is that it will make users take up a quiz to win a free iPad for which the consumers need to provide their cell phone number to receive the results. In actuality they are signed up for a cell phone scam that costs $10 a week.
2)Distress message scam
This is a travel scam which sends out SOS messages to phones of family and friends requests them to transfer some money as they are lost in an unfamiliar place and want to get back home. According McAfee labs the scam will rise in the travel season.
3)Fake Gift Cards
The recent Facebook scam is one such example of fake gift card scam .It offered free $1,000 Best Buy gift card to the first 20,000 people who signed up for a Best Buy fan page which helped cybercrooks to gain personal information of the users . They then used it to sell it to the marketers or use it as Id theft.
4)high-paying or work-at-home jobs
These holiday job offer links promise you jobs by taking your personal information, such as your email address, home address and Social Security number to apply for a fake job.
5)phishing SMS texts
This is also called as "smishing" where SMS messages appear to be sent from your bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with your account and you have to call a number to verify your account information. Cybercrooks know that people are more vulnerable to this scam during the holiday season as consumers are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently.
6)Suspicious Holiday Rentals
During peak travel times when consumers often look online for affordable holiday rentals, cybercrooks post fake holiday rental sites that ask for down payments on properties by credit card or wire transfer.
7)Recession Scams Continue
McAfee Labs has seen a significant number of spam emails advertising prequalified, low-interest loans and credit cards if the recipient pays a processing fee, which goes directly into the scammer's pocket.
8)E-card scams
E-cards are a convenient and earth-friendly way to send greetings to friends and family, but cybercriminals load fake versions with links to computer viruses and other malware instead of cheer. According to McAfee Labs, computers may start displaying obscene images, pop-up ads, or even start sending cards to contacts that appear to come from you.
9)Low Price Traps
Shoppers should be cautious of products offered at prices far below competitors. Cyber scammers use auction sites and fake websites to offer too-good-to-be-true deals with the goal of stealing your money and information.
10)Charity Scams
The holidays have historically been a prime time for charity scams since it's a traditional time for giving, and McAfee Labs predicts that this year is no exception. Common ploys include phone calls and spam e-mails asking you to donate to veterans? charities, children's causes and relief funds for the latest catastrophe.
11)Dangerous Holiday Downloads
Holiday-themed screensavers, jingles and animations are an easy way for scammers to spread viruses and other computer threats especially when links come from an email or IM that appears to be from a friend. 

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