Christmas Scam List from McAfee

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McAfee is warning users to be careful with Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping.

Unfortunately, during Christmas time all hell breaks loose and users are even more vulnerable to online traps set by cyber criminals who wrap up their scam ideas with shiny holiday themes.

With all the havoc and utter aggression happening during Christmas discounts and hot deals in shopping centers, more and more consumers go Christmas shopping using their smart phones, tablets and iPads. This stratum of users is under attack from cyber criminals who aim at stealing users’ personal and banking information, as well as spreading malicious software.

“Understanding the mindsets of cyber crooks and being aware of how they try to take advantage of consumers can help ensure that we use our devices the way they were intended – to enhance our lives, not jeopardize them,” said Samantha Swift, online security expert at McAfee.

Mobile applications

These include Christmas shopping applications that look quite official, even those that feature a well established companies’ endorsement or testimony from celebrities. These programs may be malicious, stealing your personal data. A recent survey published by McAfee warns against a new kind of mobile malware that permits the scammer get around the digital signature most Android devices require when they validate applications.

Holiday SMS

FakeInstaller is a well-known piece of malicious code which is accepted by most Android users as legitimate software – installer for an application. Because it gets an unrestricted access to devices, it then sends out text messages to premium rate numbers without the user’s knowledge.

Hot holiday gifts

Deals on popular products, such as Xbox and PlayStation 4, might turn out to be a scam. Criminals embed dangerous links into these advertisements and place them on popular social media websites, gathering user private data, or prompting users to download malicious software onto their devices.

Hot travel deals

Hot travel deals that seem almost too good to be true may also be online scams. You may receive those in your email, and once you take action on such advertisement, crooks steal your identity information.

Online games

Make sure you double-check the software your children download, especially holiday themed apps. Currently, many websites offer Grand Theft Auto full version for free, but the download packs are packed with malicious software.

Shipping notifications

Fake shipping notifications may appear in your e-mail from a delivery service requesting an update on your parcel. In reality, these e-mails may contain malicious software designed to infiltrate your device. These click-and -collect e-mails are very flexible delivery options, and consumers must be on guard against this sort of scam.

Gift cards

One of the favorite ways to share the Christmas joy is giving your friends the gift cards. Twitter and Facebook, as well as other social media websites, are abundant in fake ads claiming exclusive deals on gift cards, or even packages of cards urging users to disclose their banking information and purchase gift cards that do not exist.

Christmas charities

Christmas is the right time to donate to a charity organization. Unfortunately, cyber criminals take advantage of people’s generosity, as much as during Christmas, or during natural disaster events. They fix up fake charity websites to collect donations.

Dating websites

Millions of people are using online dating websites, without even suspecting that the person behind the screen may not be the person depicted on the picture. Many of those fake accounts contain malicious software and fishing codes. As a result, the criminal gains access to your banking and personal information, such as passwords, user names, credit card details.

Online shops

Online shopping has become increasingly popular which attracts cyber criminals’ attention. A lot of people buy their Christmas gifts online, so cyber crooks create fake e-commerce websites that steal your financial information. According to McAfee, one in every five consumers shopping online gets scammed by fake retail websites.