The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 15, 2012

McAfee warns consumers of the '12 Scams of Christmas'

Susceptibility rises as most consumers plan to shop online during the 2012 holiday season

Operating on the theory that forewarned is forearmed, McAfee is exposing what it calls it “Top 12 Scams of Christmas” that criminals plan to use to rip off consumers as they shop online this holiday season.

According to the security technology firm's 2012 Holiday Shopping Study, 70% of those asked said they plan to shop online this holiday season. Additionally, 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.

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 are willing to provide some level of personal information in order to receive an offer that is of value to them.

Irresistible to criminals

Among those Americans planning on using smartphones and/or tablets to purchase gifts this holiday season, over half 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.

The scams

‘Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online -- shopping for gifts. Eighty-eight percent of those who plan on shopping online during the 2012 holiday season say they'll use 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 McAfee:

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