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The 12 Scams of Christmas, 2010   no comments

Dec 14, 2010 @ 3:18pm Web hosting

Time for family, friends, food, presents, festivities and crime! Last year I wrote about the 12 scams of Christmas, and got a lot of positive feedback. So, I decided to write an updated 12 scams list for 2010, with help from the folks over at McAfee. Unfortunately, scams always seem to ramp up with everything else around the holidays. Be sure to watch out for these tricks to keep yourself safe this holiday season.

Scam 1: Free iPads
You’ve undoubtedly already seen links for free iPad offers this holiday season, and hopefully you haven’t fallen prey. With the iPad topping the charts for the most sought after new tech gadget, these scams are sure to ramp up as the big day approaches. This scam is rampant on social media sites where visitors are asked to take a survey for a free iPad. Be wary of any survey that asks you to submit any personal information. Often these will ask for your cell phone number and then will bill you for $10/week.

Scam 2: Social Networking – A Cybercriminal “Wants to be Your Friend”
I know how flattering it is to think perfect strangers want to be friends, but beware. This year there are more fake profiles than ever. These scammers are out to install malware on your PC and steal your password. And you just wanted to be friends!

Scam 3: Charity Phishing Scams – Be Careful Who You Give To
It’s a low down, dirty game but this scam hits you when you deserve it the least (not that you ever deserve it, but you know what I mean). Watch out for emails claiming to be from a charitable organization. They might contain links to fake websites set up to steal your donations and/or personal information.

Scam 4: Fake Gift Cards
Gift cards are extremely popular this year—in fact we ran our own gift card promotion in September. Like many other scams, fake gift card offers ask for your personal information. When in doubt, DON’T PROVIDE IT. Stay safe.

Scam 5: Help Me Overseas!
This variation on the overseas needy gets personal when scam artists hack into email accounts and send fake distress messages to family and friends. The scammers ask for wired money, claiming dire straits in foreign lands. Before sending money, give your loved one a call and make sure they really need help.

Scam 6: Fake Job Offers
This is a real heartbreaker—fake job offers targeting the out-of-work and desperate. You’ve likely encountered plenty of these scams on classified sites and otherwise legitimate job listing sites. Any time you see the words “work at home” or “I made x amount of dollars in one week” or anything else that seems too good to be true, IT IS. Avoid these scams at all costs, and protect your personal information!

Scam 7: Smishing
This silly word refers to a very serious crime. Smishing is phishing via SMS text messages sent directly to your phone. They appear to come from a retailer or your bank, and have already fooled many consumers who aren’t used to receiving spam on their phones.

Scam 8: Holiday Rentals
Many people are looking for nice rental properties for their families during the holiday season. Never send anyone a down payment unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. Use rental sites with consumer protection, and be sure to google names and locations for more information. Often, people that have been duped before you will post their experiences online to protect future consumers. Make the most of this early alarm system.

Scam 9:  The Dangers of Holiday E-Cards
Happy Holidays! Celebrate with the gift of malware. ‘Tis the season! This scam was popular last year too, and apparently it works because it’s making the list again. Beware.

Scam 10: The Recession Money Scams
This is another one that’s been around for years: low-interest and pay day loans. Don’t buy the hype: free money isn’t free! Pay-in-advance credit cards are another popular one this year.

Scam 11: Holiday-Themed Downloads
Downloads are the easiest way for cyber criminals to install malware on your computer. Be wary of holiday screensavers, apps, jingles and animations, even if the link is sent by a friend. Scammers are increasingly using the names and information they collect to target friends and family members of the stolen addressee. It’s a sad thing, but you really can’t trust anyone—even people you know.

Scam 12: Price Traps
Any time you see a deal for something you want at a price far below market, beware. Many cyber criminals are using popular classified sites to post fake deals for popular brands. Always make sure the URL of the website you’re on corresponds with the company.


It’s a scary Internet out there but you can protect yourself by keeping your security software up to date and your wits about you. Avoid strange links, don’t open weird attachments, and keep your chin up!

We hope you have a safe, happy and crime-free holiday!

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Written by admin on December 14th, 2010

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