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Online Scams to be aware of this holiday season

cyber-scamsThe holidays are coming and with it comes a boom for online shopping. Cyber theives are well aware of this fact and have a number of scams that they use on victims. It time to take extra care not to fall into these scams. So here are a few common ones that are used. (Prevention is better than cure.)

1 ) Holiday Cards – With more people opting to send Christmas and New Year cards online, instead of the traditional ones. Scams involve sending cards with malicious software embeded that can steal info from your computer or other malware that  gets installed on the computer. Make sure you open cards only from people you know and from reputed sites. Check links before clicking on them & do not download cards onto your computer.

2 ) Online Shopping – Buy from reputed sites. There are many scam sites that operate during the holiday season, promising cheap rates on gifts. These sites might not deliver the goods or worse might steal your credit card information and then misuse it. Paypal offers another layer of security while paying by not divulging your credit card information to online shops. Use this method if offered.

avoid-scam3 ) Downloading Christmas Carols – Its common for sites to appear promising to let you download christmas carols. These  files might be infected with malware. Either buy music from online stores, like iTunes or download it off Youtube. Read our post on How to save MP3 audio files from Youtube videos.

4 ) Email Scams – These are very common but they come with a new twist now. You might get emails that look like they came from reputed courier companies. The content will day that you have a parcel that needs to be delivered. In order to have it delivered you need to provide your credit card info… Another common type of email scam are ones that look like they came from banks asking you to login or provide information to prove your ownership of the account. Avoid these, if you feel it might be an original email, do not click the links, instead manually open the website and login to check if there is some notice. The links given in the email might point you to fake sites that look like the real one.

5 ) Charitable Scams – Christmas is the season for giving, hundreds of charitable sites popup during this time asking you to donate. You might actually just be donating money and your credit cad info instead ! Again do some research on the organization or go with well known ones if you aren’t sure.

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  • Stephen Reis

    Nice summary here Alfred. It’s amazing how many people fall prey to attacks.

    On number four, I just want to add that answering some surveys, questionnaires, request for information etc… might also compromise your password. A lot of sites asks its users to enter their mother’s maiden name for the security question. Give that answer away or some other security answers (favorite teacher, childhood hero etc…) then you’ve compromised most of your internet accounts.

    To be sure, don’t use the real maiden name of your mother when signing up.. instead create:
    – a memorable “master security answer” for trusted sites (email, home banking) and
    – a “disposable one” for not-so-trustworthy sites (warez download, pohrn, spare email etc..)
    both of which should consist of capital and small letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Depr

    Nice article, thanks.

  • Cancer Symptoms

    Great post…!!!

  • Great post…!!!!!!

  • Do it yourself

    I enjoyed reading your blog and this post….!!!!! It’s gonna make my shopping safer this year..

  • This is really what people need this season. Who wants to be a victim right?! Let’s all be happy and avoid this hideous scams. Thank you so much for this. Very helpful.

  • @Stephen Reis, Thats a very good point Stephen, I didn’t think of it but the secret question can easily be exploited as you noted

  • I enjoyed reading your blog and this post!
    Christmas is the season for giving, shopping online is easy