12 scams of Christmas

E-commerce sales are predicted to rise with the festive season around the corner. Heed security software company McAfee's advice and protect yourself online.

Buyers beware!

1) Not-so-merry mobile apps

Avoid official-looking apps that feature celebrity or company endorsements. Many are designed to steal or send out your personal data. Stick to the official app stores for downloads and purchases.

2) Holiday mobile SMS

Fake installer tricks Android users into thinking it is a legitimate installer for an application and then quickly takes advantage of the unrestricted access to smartphones, sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers without the users' consent.

3) Cheap holiday gifts

The cheapest iPad in town? Be wary of super deals on popular gadgets that are too good to be true, and double-check before you confirm your purchase.

4) Seasonal travel deals

Beware of websites offering unbelievable airfare or hotel deals.

Fake travel deal links and notifications are common, as are hackers waiting to steal your identity upon arrival at your destination. A hotel's Wi-Fi may claim that you need to install software before using it and instead infects your computer with malware if you agree.

5) Dangerous e-card greetings

Legitimate-looking e-card greetings can cause unsuspecting victims to download a Trojan or other viruses after clicking a link or opening an attachment.

 6) Deceptive online games

While many websites may offer full-version downloads, they are often laden with malware.

Integrated social media pages can also be a trap to gamers.

7) Shipping notification shams

Phony shipping notifications can appear to be from a mailing service alerting you to an update on your shipment. Think twice before clicking on the links.

8) Bogus gift cards

Refrain from buying via third-party websites. Deceptive ads appearing on social sites usually claim to offer exclusive deals on gift cards or card packages.

9) Holiday SMiShing

During the holidays, SMiShing is commonly seen in gift card messages, where scammers pose as banks or credit card companies asking for account verification. Never provide passwords in text messages.

10) Fake charities

Are you donating to the right cause?

Cybercriminals prey on the Santa Claus in you with fake charity sites to pocket your money. Before donating, check the web address, look for fake logos or altered charity names.

11) Romance scams

Sure, love is in the air during the holidays, but join only dating sites with strong reputations or referrals. Never click links from anyone you do not already know.

12) Phony e-tailers

Scammers may set up phony e-commerce sites during the festive period to steal your money and data.

Check web addresses for subtle clues and stick to known and trusted e-tailers.

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