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Seasonal scams

Getting ready for the holidays? So are the cybercriminals and their cheer could be at your expense. Here's a list of holiday threats found on social media networks to keep you safe.

Phishing for the holidays: Phishing messages use deceptive information or fake websites to get consumers disclose personal or financial information. On social networks, these ploys can come in many forms:

Viral videos: Keep an eye out for videos that seem to get reposted/retweeted often with the same message tagged to it. If a message prompts you to “download an update for your media player” to view the video, two things will probably happen: first, you'll be infected with malware, and second, the fake video will be broadcast to all your friends, encouraging them to fall into the same trap.

Direct Twitter messages: Don't open messages such as “How to lose that holiday weight fast” or “I found this picture of you from the holiday party” accompanied with a shortened link unless you can confirm your friend sent it.

Cloned retailer websites: If you find the Facebook account or Twitter feed for a company's website, check the URL before you enter any information. It's easy to create fake websites and social media pages… so look for misspellings; for example BestBuy.com and BetsBuy.com.



Holiday quizzes: These quizzes usually ask for personal information using tactics such as: “Before you can receive your prize you must enter your credit card information for shipping costs.”

Free/Discounted items: A recent Facebook scam featured a Starbucks gift card, telling users if they re-posted the fake message, they would receive a $50 gift card. Similar scams have appeared promising cheap or even free iPads.

Fake clickjack charity program: Celebrities aren't looking to donate to a charity based on how many “likes” something gets. Clicking on that message will only hijack your account. Instead of helping, you could end up spamming your friends.

Broadcasting when your house will be empty: You want your friends to be jealous of your holiday trip to Virgin Islands, but posting your whereabouts on Facebook could help burglars plan an uninvited visit to your house.

Holiday Apps and Games: Be cautious when the “permissions request” box appears. Take a good look at what information the application plans to access. Apps and games that try to access unnecessary information are probably looking to get more than a laugh out of you.

What to do?

Here are some simple tips for staying safe this holiday season:

Type in the URL: Instead of clicking a link to your bank or a store, do it the old fashioned way and type in the URL in the address bar. This prevents you from visiting a potentially fake and malicious website.

Search safely: Use tools that ensure that you never enter a malicious website unknowingly.

Stay updated: Make sure to install updates on your computer and software when prompted, it's especially important to remain protected during the holidays.

And the best advice: Use your common sense; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is phoney.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 7:55:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Seasonal-scams/article13426408.ece

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