The Twelve Scams

Posted by M ws On Sunday, November 13, 2011 2 comments
McAfee Warns Consumers of the "Twelve Scams of Christmas"

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov 09, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- 'Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online - shopping for gifts, looking for great holiday deals on new digital gadgets, e-planning family get-togethers and of course, using online or mobile banking to make sure they can afford it all. But before logging on from a PC, Mac, or mobile device, consumers should look out for the "12 Scams of Christmas," the dozen most dangerous online scams this holiday season, revealed today by McAfee.

"Cybercriminals rub their hands with glee when they think of the holidays," said Gary Davis, director of consumer product marketing at McAfee. "Consumers are making travel plans, shopping for gifts and bargains, updating Facebook and connecting with friends. However, the vast majority have no security protection for their smartphones or tablets, despite using them heavily during the holiday season. Consumers need to stay one step ahead of this season's cyber-scrooges, and make sure they have protection for all of their Internet-enabled devices. Otherwise, they could risk giving the bad guys the biggest gift of all -- their own personal and financial information."

McAfee's 12 Scams of Christmas

1. Mobile Malware: A recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, dated October 19, found that 52.6 percent of U.S. consumers who own a smartphone said they will be using their device for holiday-shopping related activities--whether it's to research products, redeem coupons, or purchase holiday gifts. Malware targeted at mobile devices is on the rise, and Android smartphones are most at risk. McAfee cites a 76 percent increase in malware targeted at Android devices in the second quarter of 2011 over the first, making it the most targeted smartphone platform.

New malware has recently been found that targets QR codes, a digital barcode that consumers might scan with their smartphone to find good deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or just to learn about products they want to buy.

2. Malicious Mobile Applications -These are mobile apps designed to steal information from smartphones, or send out expensive text messages without a user's consent. Dangerous apps are usually offered for free, and masquerade as fun applications, such as games. For example, last year, 4.6 million Android smartphone users downloaded a suspicious wallpaper app that collected and transmitted user data to a site in China.

3. Phony Facebook Promotions and Contests -- Who doesn't want to win some free prizes or get a great deal around the holidays? Unfortunately, cyberscammers know that these are attractive lures and they have sprinkled Facebook with phony promotions and contests aimed at gathering personal information.
A recent scam advertised two free airline tickets, but required participants to fill out multiple surveys requesting personal information.

4. Scareware, or Fake Antivirus software -- Scareware is the fake antivirus software that tricks someone into believing that their computer is at risk--or already infected--so they agree to download and pay for phony software. This is one of the most common and dangerous Internet threats today, with an estimated one million victims falling for this scam each day. In October 2010, McAfee reported that scareware represented 23% of all dangerous Internet links, and it has been resurgent in recent months.

5. Holiday Screensavers--Bringing holiday cheer to your home or work PC sounds like a fun idea to get into the holiday spirit, but be careful. A recent search for a Santa screensaver that promises to let you "fly with Santa in 3D" is malicious. Holiday-themed ringtones and e-cards have been known to be malicious too.

6. Mac Malware -- Until recently, Mac users felt pretty insulated from online security threats, since most were targeted at PCs. But with the growing popularity of Apple products, for both business and personal use, cybercriminals have designed a new wave of malware directed squarely at Mac users. According to McAfee Labs(TM), as of late 2010, there were 5,000 pieces of malware targeting Macs, and this number is increasing by 10 percent month on month.

7. Holiday Phishing Scams -- Phishing is the act of tricking consumers into revealing information or performing actions they wouldn't normally do online using phony email or social media posts. Cyberscammers know that most people are busy around the holidays so they tailor their emails and social messages with holiday themes in the hopes of tricking recipients into revealing personal information.
-- A common holiday phishing scam is a phony notice from UPS, saying you have a package and need to fill out an attached form to get it delivered. The form may ask for personal or financial details that will go straight into the hands of the cyberscammer.
-- Banking phishing scams continue to be popular and the holiday season means consumers will be spending more money--and checking bank balances more often. From July to September of this year, McAfee Labs identified approximately 2,700 phishing URLs per day.
-- Smishing --SMS phishing--remains a concern. Scammers send their fake messages via a text alert to a phone, notifying an unsuspecting consumer that his bank account has been compromised. The cybercriminals then direct the consumer to call a phone number to get it re-activated--and collects the user's personal information including Social Security number, address, and account details.


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2 comments to The Twelve Scams

  1. says:

    adie One rule to remember, if it's too good to be true it probably is!

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear adie,

    How true! Thanks for sharing. Do stay in touch. Have a lovely week!

    Salam

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