The number of Australians planning to shop online this holiday season is set to be double from 2011 but almost 30 per cent of Australians do not know how to identify a secure shopping site, according to security vendor, McAfee.
Its recent 2012 holiday shopping study, which was conducted online among 1005 Australian adults by Harris Interactive, found that at least 60 per cent of Aussies plan to shop online this holiday season.
McAfee also found that Australia has the highest smartphone and tablet ownership – with 69 per cent of Aussies using a smartphone, tablet or both – which they intend to use to shop online.
“The number of Australians doing their Christmas shopping online is set to double this year and with that comes greater opportunity for cybercrooks looking to put a dampener on the silly season,” McAfee Asia-Pacific enterprise solutions architect, Sean Duca, said.
In light of these findings, McAfee exposed the top 12 scams of Christmas that could rip off Aussies as they shop online this holiday season.
- Social media scams – Scammers use channels, like Facebook and Twitter, just like email and websites to scam consumers. McAfee warns consumers to be careful when clicking or liking posts, while taking advantage of contests, ads and special deals that they get from “friends” that advertise exclusive discounts, holiday-related jobs postings.
- Malicious mobile apps – As smartphone users download over 25 billion apps for Android devices alone, the popularity of applications has grown, so have the chances that a user could download a malicious application designed to steal information or send out premium-rate text messages.
- Travel Scams – Scammers are looking to hook users with too-good-to-be-true deals. McAfee said to beware of phony travel webpages that use beautiful pictures and rock-bottom prices.
- Holiday spam/phishing – According to McAfee, many of these spam emails will take on holiday themes.
- iPhone 5, iPad mini and other holiday gift scams – Cybercrooks will mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests and phishing emails as a way to grab computer users’ attention and to reveal personal information or click on a malware infested link.
- Skype message scare – People should be aware of a new Skype message scam that attempts to infect their machine, and even hold their files for ransom.
- Bogus gift cards – McAfee said the number of bogus gift cards is on the rise during this holiday season and that people should be wary of buying gift cards from third parties.
- Holiday SMiShing – “SMiShing” is phishing via text message. Just like with email phishing, the scammer tries to lure users into revealing information.
- Phony E-tailers – Phony e-commerce sites, that appear legitimate, try to lure users into typing in credit card number and other personal details, often by promoting great deals.
- Fake charities – McAfee said this is one of the biggest scams of every holiday season.
- 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 a computer once a user clicks on the link to view the greeting.
- Phony classifieds – According to McAfee, online classified sites may be a great place to look for holiday gifts and part-time jobs, but phony offers ask for too much personal information or ask to wire funds.
“The first step in ensuring your personal details stay safe and secure at this busy time is to check your security protection – on your mobile devices as well as your PC,” Duca added.