|[November 12, 2012]
McAfee Warns Consumers of the "12 Scams of Christmas" as 70% of Americans Plan to Shop Online During the 2012 Holiday Season
SANTA CLARA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
McAfee, the world's largest dedicated security technology company, today
released findings from the company's 2012
Holiday Shopping Study. The study, conducted online among over
2,300 U.S. adults by Harris Interactive (News - Alert), investigates the online habits
and behaviors of Americans, including those who indicate that they will
engage with the Internet and mobile devices while shopping this holiday
season. In light of these findings, McAfee also exposes the Top
12 Scams of Christmas that criminals plan to use to rip off
Americans as they shop online this holiday season.
While Americans have become accustomed to shopping online, and will do
so in droves, they are also using their mobile phones for more of their
As 70% of those surveyed plan to shop online this holiday
season, a surprising 1 in 4 (24%) of them plan to use
their mobile devices, and while aware of the risks, they are willing
to give away their personal information if they can get something they
value in return.
In fact, despite the fact that 87% of smartphone or tablet
owners surveyed are at least somewhat concerned that their personal
information could be stolen while using an app on a smartphone or
tablet, nearly nine in ten of them are willing to provide some
level of personal information in order to receive an offer that is of
value to them.
Among those Americans planning on using smartphones and/or tablets to
purchase gifts this holiday season, over half (54%) are
specifically planning to use apps for shopping and/or banking during the
holiday season; as such, mobile devices have proven irresistible to
cybercriminals, and now they are targeting mobile users through
With roughly three in ten (28%) American smartphone and/or
tablet owners admitting they do not pay attention at all to app
permissions and 36% paying attention but specifying they do not
always do so, Cyber-Scrooge criminals are ready to pounce.
'Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online - shopping for
gifts. 88% of those Americans who plan on shopping online during
the 2012 holiday season plan on using a personal computer to do so, and 34%
will use a tablet (21%) and/or smartphone (19%). But with nearly
half (48%) of Americans planning to shop online on Cyber Monday for
sales (45% using a computer, 10% using a mobile device),
here are the "12 Scams of Christmas," the dozen most dangerous
online scams to watch out for this holiday season, revealed today by
1) Social media scams- Cybercriminals know social media networks
are a good place to catch you off guard because we're all "friends,"
right Scammers use channels, like Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert), just like email
and websites to scam consumers during the holidays. Be careful when
clicking or liking posts, while taking advantage of raffle contests, and
fan page deals that you get from your "friends" that advertise the
hottest Holiday gifts, installing apps to receive discounts, and your
friends' accounts being hacked and sending out fake alerts. Twitter ads
and special discounts utilize blind, shortened links, many of which
could easily be malicious.
2) Malicious Mobile Apps-As smartphone users we are app crazy,
downloading over 25 billion apps1 for Android devices alone!
But as the popularity of applications has grown, so have the chances
that you could download a malicious application designed to steal your
information or even send out premium-rate text messages without your
3) Travel Scams-Before you book your flight or hotel to head home
to see your loved ones for the holidays, keep in mind that the scammers
are looking to hook you with too-good-to-be-true deals. Phony travel
webpages, sometimes using your preferred company, with beautiful
pictures and rock-bottom prices are used to get you to hand over your
4) Holiday Spam/Phishing-Soon many of these spam emails will take
on holiday themes. Cheap Rolex watches and pharmaceuticals may be
advertised as the "perfect gift" for that special someone.
5) iPhone (News - Alert) 5, iPad Mini ad other hot holiday gift scams-The kind
of excitement and buzz surrounding Apple's new iPhone 5 or iPad Mini is
just what cybercrooks dream of when they plot their scams. They will
mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests
(example: "Free iPad") and phishing emails as a way to grab computer
users' attention to get you to reveal personal information or click on a
dangerous link that could download malware onto your machine.
6) Skype Message Scare-People around the world will use Skype to
connect with loved ones this holiday season, but they should be aware of
a new Skype message scam that attempts to infect their machine, and even
hold their files for ransom.
7) Bogus gift cards-Cybercriminals can't help but want to get in
on the action by offering bogus gift cards online. Be wary of buying
gift cards from third parties; just imagine how embarrassing it would be
to find out that the gift card you gave your mother-in-law was
8) Holiday SMiShing-"SMiSishing" is phishing via text message.
Just like with email phishing, the scammer tries to lure you into
revealing information or performing an action you normally wouldn't do
by pretending to be a legitimate organization.
9) Phony E-tailers- Phony e-commerce sites, that appear real, try
to lure you into typing in your credit card number and other personal
details, often by promoting great deals. But, after obtaining your money
and information, you never receive the merchandise, and your personal
information is put at risk.
10) Fake charities-This is one of the biggest scams of every
holiday season. As we open up our hearts and wallets, the bad guys hope
to get in on the giving by sending spam emails advertising fake
11) Dangerous e-cards-E-Cards are a popular way to send a quick
"thank you" or holiday greeting, but some are malicious and may contain
spyware or viruses that download onto your computer once you click on
the link to view the greeting.
12) Phony classifieds-Online classified sites may be a great
place to look for holiday gifts and part-time jobs, but beware of phony
offers that ask for too much personal information or ask you to wire
funds via Western Union, since these are most likely scams.
According to a global study commissioned by MSI (News - Alert) International and
McAfee, consumers place an average value of $37,438 on the "digital
assets" they own across multiple digital devices, yet more than a third
across all of those devices.
"Using multiple devices provides the bad guys with more ways to access
your valuable "Digital Assets," such as personal information and files,
especially if the devices are under-protected," said Paula Greve,
director at McAfee Labs. "One of the best ways for consumers to protect
themselves is to learn about the criminals' tricks, so they can avoid
them. Beyond that they should have the latest updates of the
applications on their devices in order to enjoy a safe online buying or
other experience. We don't want consumers to be haunted by the scams of
holidays past, present and future - they can't afford to leave the door
open to cyber-grinches during the busy holiday season."
"For the millions of consumers who plan to go online this holiday season
to shop for the best deals, finalize travel plans and update their
social channels, it's important that they enjoy those activities safely
by checking their security protection on their computers and mobile
devices first," said Gary Davis, vice president of McAfee Global
Consumer Marketing. "To keep their personal and financial information
secure, it's also important to be wary of offers that are too good to be
true, not click on links or open attachments from people they don't know
or companies' emails or sites that look suspect, and go directly to
websites by typing their name in web address bar."
For more information on the:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris
Interactive on behalf of McAfee from September 24-26, 2012 among 2,397
adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a
probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling
error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including
weighting variables, please contact Matt Clark with DKC News at
212.981.5158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel (News - Alert) Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC),
empowers businesses, the public sector and home users, to safely
experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive
and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and
mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy,
innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global
Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping
its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com
Note: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, or its
subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and
brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2011 McAfee All
rights reserved. The product plans, specifications and descriptions
herein are provided for information only, subject to change without
notice, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms,
leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform
relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the
Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research
methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of
market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy,
and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications
research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries
including health care, technology, public affairs, energy,
telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail,
restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a
portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions
while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in
more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and
European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions
that help us - and our clients-stay ahead of what's next. For more
information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
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