Finally, it is that time of the year, where
many of us get a chance to stay at home doing what we enjoy
the most. So do the Internet scammers – those who swindle you
by means of deception or fraud. I’m not quite sure how many of
us actually shop online in this part of the world, but being
safe is not only about safe shopping.
It is also important to understand that we
need to be extra vigilant during this time of the year, as the
scammers know that we tend to spend more time online, buying
stuff, sending greeting cards, making friends on social
networks, etc. So the scammers and con artists stand a better
chance to be more successful when you lower your guard.
1. Social networks
Con artists can
send you emails (that may look genuine) with friend requests,
or invite you for a game of checkers. Once you click on that
link, malware could get installed in your machine. That’s only
the beginning. Once they have control over your computer, they
could practically do anything ranging from stealing your
passwords to using your computer to launch attacks on other
2. Greeting cards
Like the social
network based attacks, be careful before clicking on links you
receive via email or other message services. These links may
take you to unknown sites (that host malware). They may even
appear to be genuine (e.g. I23greeting.com instead of
3. Safe online
If you are on a
wireless network, is it secure? Make sure the site you are
shopping is legitimate. Some con artists even try to make the
fake urls look similar to the original by adding, deleting or
changing a character. Do not fully rely on search engines.
They can be manipulated too (http://bit.ly/rJ1vwc).
also look for the padlock icon at the bottom of the browser or
web pages starting ‘S’ (‘S’ stands for Secure).
4. Irrespective of the time of the year, updating your
firewall, operating system and other software is generally a
5. Do not fall into “act now” or “lowest price for next 2
If something is
too good to be true, it probably is not. What is the
probability of someone giving you an ipad for 10 USD if you
buy within the next 2 hours?
6. Free gifts do not require your credit card details
Ba cautious if
someone wants money to post you a free gift.
7. Email from your bank asking you to divulge confidential or
A legitimate bank would never ask you to do
this via email or phone. Always contact the bank and verify
the authenticity of the email or the call you received prior
to disclosing any confidential or privileged information.
8. Check your credit card or financial statements to detect
This is a more of a detection measure in
comparison to all the preventive measures mentioned earlier.
Scan through financial statement and see whether there are
Bottom-line: If someone wants to get to
you, it is more likely that they would find a way. Be
aware of the latest threats. Make your online stay safe and
worry free during this X’mas season.