We here at the Tri-State BBB try to keep our area residents and blog readers up-to-date on current threats to their marketplace safety. And because it is a priority of ours to stay on top of fraudulent offers and scams, I thought we had heard it all!
(Huesner, 11/20/2009 “ Beware of the ’12 Scams of Christmas’, McAfee Inc. Warns Consumers About Most Popular Holiday Internet Scams)
Holiday Gifts Around the holidays, packages pour in via Federal Express, UPS and the U.S. Customs Service. But if you get an e-mail supposedly from a delivery service asking for credit card details or directing you to open an online invoice, be careful.
Cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications appearing to be from well-known delivery services, Marcus said. Opening a fake invoice online could prompt the installation of malware on your computer.
Before you click, take a good, hard look at the address the e-mail is coming from. If it’s from Federal Express, it should be a short address from “Federal Express” or “FedEx,” he said.
He also said to pay attention to the language in the e-mail, adding that bad grammar is often a red flag. Most importantly, be suspicious if the e-mail asks for credit card information, because a valid delivery notification would not ask for that.
Thieves Like Holiday E-Cards They may be the environmentally-friendly option (and the more convenient one). But holiday e-cards are also a favorite among cyber thieves.
McAfee says it’s discovered worms masquerading as Hallmark e-cards and corporate holiday promotions. Instead of clicking on the link, open up a browser and enter the address yourself.
Or, if you don’t know the person sending the e-card or it looks especially suspicious, Marcus said you’re better off deleting it. “If it was real, your friend will send it to you again,” he said.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi Hotspots As you shop this holiday season, McAfee says to never shop online from a public computer or on an open Wi-Fi network. There may be deals a plenty online but, if you’re surfing the Internet on an open hotspot, hackers can spy on your activities and steal personal information as you enter it.
If you connect to a Wi-Fi network at the airport or at a hotel, Marcus said to be careful that you connect to the correct one. Look for signage on the wall directing you to the appropriate network and if you’re not sure, ask someone.
‘Deck the Halls’ Could Be Dangerous? As you prepare to carol with friends and family, you might search the Web for Christmas carol lyrics. But McAfee says that hackers create holiday-themed Web sites for people hunting for festive ringtones, carols and screensavers.
Downloading infected files could install spyware, adware or other malware on your computer. Before you start surfing, make sure you have comprehensive and up-to-date computer security software on your computer. And, as you search, steer clear of links with misspellings and other errors.