Monday, December 13, 2010

Beware of these common holiday scams

Beware of these common holiday scams

Offers of "free" iPads:

With Apple products topping most shopping lists this holiday season, scammers are busy sending out fake offers for free iPads. Consumers are asked to purchase other products and provide their credit card number to get the free iPad. Of course, victims never receive the iPad or the other items, just the headache of reporting a stolen credit card number.

Help! I've been robbed!

This travel scam sends phony distress messages to family and friends requesting that money be wired or transferred so that they can get home.

Fake Gift Cards:

Cybercriminals use social media sites to promote fake gift card offers with the goal of stealing consumers’ information and money, which is then sold to marketers or used for ID theft.

Illegitimate Holiday Job Offers:

As people seek extra cash for gifts this holiday season, 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.


Cyber criminals are now “smishing,” or sending phishing SMS texts. The texts appear to come from a bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with your account and you have to call a number to verify your information. In reality, these efforts are simply a trick to extract personal information from their targets.

Suspicious Holiday Rentals:

During peak travel times when consumers often look online for affordable holiday rentals, scammers post fake holiday rental sites that ask for down payments on properties by credit card or wire transfer.


E-cards are a convenient and earth-friendly way to send greetings to friends and family, but cybercriminals load fake versions with links to computer viruses and other malware. Computers may start displaying obscene images, pop-up ads, or even start sending cards to contacts that appear to come from you.

Low Price Traps:

Shoppers should be cautious of products offered at prices far below competitors. Cyber scammers use auction sites and fake websites to offer toogood- to-be-true deals with the goal of stealing your money and information.

Charity Scams:

The holidays have always been a prime time for charity scams since the season is a traditional time for giving. Common ploys include phone calls and spam e-mails asking you to donate to veterans’ charities, children’s causes and disaster relief funds.

Source: UMCDF Today!, Monday, December 6, 2010, used by permission.