The holidays don't bring out the best in everyone. Online scammers view it as hunting season—people are trusting, spending, and distracted, and there’s no better time to lift financial information. Internet security service McAfee has published “The Twelve Scams Of Christmas” on their blog (full disclosure: We found it through the NY Times Bucks Blog), and we were floored by the diversity of the scams. We guess Facebook isn’t the only thing going through changes. Ahead, five common scams this holiday season:
1. iPad Offers
Since Apple products are the shiniest this season, scammers are ready to offer you an iPad in exchange for your credit card number. It will never arrive. Note: If you’re asked to submit your credit card number for something that’s theoretically free, cue the alarm bells.
2. “Help, I’ve Been Robbed!” Scam
This actually happened to a friend of ours—he received an email from an acquaintance saying that she was stranded somewhere and asking that money be wired to her. Question: Why would she email you instead of call? If you’re worried that the panic is legit, give her a call, or call her best friend/family/significant other if you can’t reach her. They’ll know if she’s actually in trouble, or if it’s a scam.
3. Fake Gift Cards
A recent Facebook scam offered a “$1,000 Best Buy gift card” to the first 20,000 people to provide personal information. Doesn’t the offer seem too good to be true? You should be skeptical already, but if you have to provide personal info, it’s a wash.
4. Holiday Job Offers
According to McAfee, “Twitter scams offer dangerous links to high-paying, work-at-home jobs that ask for your personal information, such as your email address, home address and Social Security number to apply for the fake job.” Do not enter your Social Security number in illegitimate online sources! Do not do it.
Aside from being our new favorite word, it’s also the practice of sending phishing texts. (SMS plus phishing equals smishing.) The texts will appear to come from your bank and give you a number to call to right apparent discrepancies in your account. If you’re concerned that it could be real, call your bank’s customer service number and look into your account—don’t call the number in the text.
To read the rest of the scams, head on over to the McAfee blog. CLICK HERE.
For more crazy credit card scams, check out our own collection of scary stories. CLICK HERE.
Tell us in the comments: Have you or anyone you know ever been scammed? What happened?