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12 Scams of Christmas

The holidays are supposed to be a fun filled time for celebrating with family and friends, so make sure you keep the cheer in your holiday and learn about the “12 Scams of the Holidays,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for this holiday season.

Just like your family, cyber criminals have holiday traditions and they are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of holiday shoppers.

12 Scams of the Holidays


You’ve Got Mail: Think twice about clicking links in shipping notification emails. Verify the email is really from the company before giving away any personal information.

If you are really nervous, check with the shipping company directly. Many such as Fed Ex and UPS have their own web sites that provide you with tracking information regarding your shipments.


Deceptive Advertising: Beware of deals that are too good to be true. Make sure online and social contests are posted on a company’s official page before clicking and entering your contact information.


Chilling Charities: Many of you will be donating this season, but do your research and double check the URL before you give online. Go directly to the charity’s page to make sure your money ends up in the right place.


Buyer Beware: Check your credit card statements every single month. Point-of-sale breaches have made headlines frequently and likely will again before the holiday season is over. Some of your consumer rights have a time limit so don’t wait several months before reporting any suspicious activity on your statements.


iScams: Your smartphone is also your credit card, house key, camera, and email. It makes you more vulnerable to malware. Stick to official apps to download from your authorized app store.


Getting Carded: Don’t open e-cards unless they’re from someone you know and a trustworthy site. The link could set you up for malware.


Holiday Travel Scams: Avoid fake online deal links offering low price airfare or hotel rooms. Make sure the links go back to a trustworthy site.


Bank Robocall Scam: Be suspicious of phone calls from your bank or credit card who claim your account has been hacked then ask for personal information to fix it. If you’re ever in doubt hang up and call the company directly by referencing the phone number on the back of your credit card.


ATM Skimming: Before you get cash check out your ATM. If the cover, keypad, or card slot look loose or different than usual a skimmer device could have been placed there to steal your banking information.

A good habit to get into is to give the card slot on an ATM or gas pump a firm tug to be sure that it is not a device overlaid on the machine. If it comes off in your hand it is probably a nefarious device notify local law enforcement if you come across a skimmer to help others in your communities.


Year in Review Traps: You’ll see a lot of year in review videos coming out in December. Clicking on suspicious links could infect your devices.


BYO Device: Smartphones are often lost and stolen in the hustle and bustle of shopping and traveling during the holiday season. Don’t leave your smartphone unattended to get stolen or hacked.


Bad USB: Pass on the free USB giveaways. USB drives are an easy way for hackers to spread malware.


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