Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Watch out for These Common Holiday Scams

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Watch out for These Common Holiday Scams

Article excerpt

As sure as Santa will be showing up at the malls, scammers will be appearing on your computers and smartphones seeking to play the Christmas Grinch.

While Santa will be there in person, many of the scam artists will greet you online, getting ready to exploit consumers hunting for the best deals.

To prevent that, Scambook.com, an online complaint resolution company, warns consumers to watch out for four of last year's top holiday scams that are expected to return in the same form (or with slight variations) this year.

Note that while well-known companies are mentioned in the warnings, they are not involved.

* Free $1,000 Best Buy Gift Card Text Message Scam: Scammers texted consumers offering a $1,000 gift card when they entered a code, delivered through text, on BestBuyContest.com and BestBuyWin.net. This year's scam may reference Best Buy or a different retailer such as Target or Walmart.

* Fake Leaked Black Friday Ads for Popular Retailers: Scammers exploit the trust built between corporate brands such as Walmart, Target or Best Buy and consumers to leak ads offering downloadable coupons. But these ads are actually phishing schemes, designed to steal personal information or install malware on your computer.

* False Videos and eCards Carrying Viruses: Phishing emails sent from a spambot account on Twitter, or through other social media platforms, is a popular scheme during the holidays when friends and family may share a seasonal video clip or an e-card. They may contain viruses or other malware.

* Google Searches Pose Threat: Fraudsters create fake sites on even the most trusted search engines using a technique known as "blackhat SEO," causing their sites to appear next to other legitimate search results. When popular terms are searched, the JavaScript can detect Internet Explorer users and prompt them to install an "Internet Security Suite" for fake anti-virus notifications that download a virus.

To prevent getting ripped off, consumers need to follow some basic rules: Stick to trusted sites, beware of too-good-to-be-true deals and prices that are way out of line with those charged by competitors, make sure your security protectors are up to date and avoid opening any attachments that come with unsolicited email. …

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