McAfee Warns Consumers of the “12 Scams of Christmas” as 70% of Americans Plan to Shop Online During the 2012 Holiday

  McAfee Warns Consumers of the “12 Scams of Christmas” as 70% of Americans
  Plan to Shop Online During the 2012 Holiday Season

     1 in 4 Americans Plan to Shop Online this Holiday Season via Mobile

 Cyber-Scrooges Work Overtime During Holiday Season and on Black Friday/Cyber
              Monday, New Threats Hit Mobile, Email and the Web

Business Wire

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- November 12, 2012

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,
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 everyday

  *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 malicious applications.

  *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, 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 apps^1 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 knowledge.

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 financial details.

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 5, iPad Mini and 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 fraudulent!

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

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 charities.

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

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 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 lack protection 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.”

Additional Resources

For more information on the:

  *McAfee 12 Scams of Christmas List and Tips for Consumers to Stay Safe, go
    to: and
  *Mobile and Online Holiday Shopping Survey:
  *Infographic and Robert Siciliano’s thoughts on the latest scams:
  *Web surfers can also visit the McAfee Security Advice Center and Facebook
    page at for information on the latest threats, and
    tips on surfing safely.

Survey Methodology

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

About McAfee

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel 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.

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



DKC News
Matt Clark, 212-981-5158
Kim Eichorn, 408-455-2172
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