The Holidays Give Rise to More SMS Scams

An unsettling report issued recently by McAfee underscores the prevalence of SMS scams during the holidays.

In an effort to educate the public on the most common scams that criminals use during the holiday season, McAfee outlined what it calls the “12 Scams of Christmas.”

Not surprisingly, the scams extend deep into mobile territory.

“The potential for identity theft increases as consumers share personal information across multiple devices that are often under protected,” says Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer at McAfee. “Understanding criminals’ mindsets and being aware of how they try to take advantage of consumers can help ensure that we use our devices the way they were intended – to enhance our lives, not jeopardize them.”

As always, consumers are cautioned to proceed carefully when opening emails, downloading apps, or interacting with suspicious text messages and any digital communications that could be malicious in nature.

Among the mobile-related scams of the holidays are:

  • Not-So-Merry Mobile Apps–Official-looking software for holiday shopping, including those that feature celebrity or company endorsements, could be malicious, designed to steal or send out your personal data.
  • Holiday Mobile SMS Scams–FakeInstaller tricks Android users into thinking it is a legitimate installer for an application and then quickly takes advantage of the unrestricted access to smartphones, sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers without the user’s consent.
  • Dangerous E-Seasons Greetings–Legitimate-looking e-cards wishing friends “Season’s Greetings” can cause unsuspecting users to download “Merry Malware” such as a Trojan or other virus after clicking a link or opening an attachment.
 

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