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TMCNet:  Beware the 12 scams of Christmas (copy) [Maryland Gazette (MD)]

[December 04, 2013]

Beware the 12 scams of Christmas (copy) [Maryland Gazette (MD)]

(Maryland Gazette (MD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Call them the 12 scams of Christmas. Just don't expect a catchy holiday song to go along with them.

Security software giant McAfee identified the 12 biggest scams customers are likely to encounter during the 2013 holiday season: - Apps for holiday shopping that appear to be the real deal, such as those featuring a celebrity endorsement. Make sure the apps you're downloading are from a legitimate business.

- SMS scams. FakeInstaller is a program that tricks Android users into thinking it' a real installer for an app, then sends out messages to the user's contacts without the consumer's consent.

- Hot ticket gift scams. Scammers will post links and phony Facebook contests, and maybe send phishing emails with fake details of deals on sought-after merchandise. You could end up with malware on your devices as a result.

- Seasonal travel scams. Look out for deals on flights and hotels that seem too good to be true.

- Fake e-cards can cause computer users to download malware by clicking a link or opening an attachment.

- Faux online games. McAfee warns many sites offering full- version downloads of the popular Grand Theft Auto can be full of malware.

- Shipping notification shams. Phony shipping notifications can appear to be from a mailing service, alerting you to an update on your shipment. Again, it could be a virus.

- Bogus gift cards. Be wary of deceptive offers on social media sites in particular -- especially if they claim to be exclusive deals.

- Holiday smishing. Scammers pose as a bank or a credit card company, asking you to confirm information for security reasons. The sneaky ones will include the first few digits of your credit card number in the message to trick you more easily.

- Fake charities. The fraud involves someone establishing a fake website under the guise of collecting money for a worthy cause.

- Romance scams. Guard your wallet as well as your heart -- messages sent from an online love interest also have been known to include phishing scams. Talk about a dealbreaker.

- Phony e-tailers. Just like some scammers set up fake charity websites, others craft faux websites for stores or other businesses. Double check URLs and IP addresses.

Email your complaints to Allison Bourg at or call her at 410-280-5922. Remember to leave your name and daytime phone number, and she'll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also follow her on

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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