Twelve Scams of Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, vacations, parties and gift givings will just be around the corner. At the same time, cybercriminals will take advantage of this holiday season to launch their evil online scams.

According to Consumer Reports’ 2009 State of the Net Survey, cybercriminals have bilked $8 billion from consumers in the past two years.

McAfee, Inc. recently revealed the “Twelve Scams of Christmas” – the twelve most dangerous online scams that computer users should be cautious of this holiday season:

Scam 1: Charity Phishing Scams – Be Careful Who You Give To
Scam 2: Fake Invoices from Delivery Services to Steal Your Money
Scam 3: Social Networking – A Cybercriminal “Wants to be Your Friend”
Scam 4: The Dangers of Holiday E-Cards
Scam 5: “Luxury” Holiday Jewelry Comes at a High Price
Scam 6: Practice Safe Holiday Shopping – Online Identity Theft on the Rise
Scam 7: Christmas Carol Lyrics Can Be Dangerous – Risky Holiday Searches
Scam 8: Out of Work – Job-Related E-mail Scams
Scam 9: Outbidding for Crime – Auction Site Fraud
Scam 10: Password Stealing Scams
Scam 11: E-Mail Banking Scams
Scam 12: Your Files for Ransom – Ransomware Scams

McAfee advises Internet users to follow these five tips to protect their computers and personal information:

1. Never Click on Links in E-Mails: Go directly to a company or charity’s Web site by typing in the address or using a search engine. Never click on a link in an e-mail.

2. Use Updated Security Software: Protect your computer from malware, spyware, viruses and other threats with updated security suites.

3. Shop and Bank on Secure Networks: Only check bank accounts or shop online on secure networks at home or work, wired or wireless. Wi-Fi networks should always be password-protected so hackers cannot gain access to them and spy on online activity.

Also, remember to only shop on Web sites that begin with https://, instead of http://, and seek out Web sites with security trustmarks.

4. Use Different Passwords: Never use the same passwords for several online accounts. Diversify passwords and use a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

5. Use Common Sense: If you are ever in doubt that an offer or product is not legitimate, do not click on it. Cybercriminals are behind many of the seemingly “good” deals on the Web, so exercise caution when searching and buying.

Have a happy and SECURE Christmas everyone. God Bless!


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