They’re baaaack! Actually, they never left—Scrooge’s little trolls work hard all year, scheming and scamming to steal holiday presents—or at least valuable information—from good girls and boys. From the North Pole to the South Pole, they target every one of us through phishing, SMiShing (text phishing), shipping and gift card scams. If you aren’t paying attention, they will hack your devices, spy on your surfing and empty your bank account.
The holidays are supposed to be a fun-filled time for celebrating with family and friends, so make sure you keep the cheer in your holiday and learn about the “12 Scams of the Holidays,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for this holiday season, revealed today by McAfee.
To make sure your holidays are not stolen by the Grinch, here are some tips on how to protect yourself against scams during the holidays, and year-round:
- Educate yourself—Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and tricks cybercriminals use, so you can learn to recognize scams and avoid potential attacks.
- Use strong passwords— Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long and contain a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Be careful when clicking—Don’t click on links in messages from people you don’t know, and use a URL expander to know what site you are going to before clicking on a shortened URL.
- Stay suspicious—Like mom said, be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true.
- Practice safe surfing—When searching for holiday gifts, use a safe search plug-in such as McAfee® SiteAdvisor®.
- Practice safe shopping—Make sure you stick to reputable e-commerce sites that have been verified as safe by a trusted third-party, like the McAfee SECURE™ mark. Also look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s URL, which indicates that the site is using encryption to protect your information.
- Use comprehensive computer security—Make sure you have comprehensive security protection for all your devices, including your mobile phone and tablet, that also protects your data and identity protection, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.