The holiday season is the prime time for fraudsters looking to take advantage of distracted, frenzied shoppers. Consumers are worried about protecting their data because of the spike in hack attacks, phishing schemes and scams. Despite the festivities and spirit of giving, it is becoming more difficult for consumers to avoid the bad guys in a dangerous digital world.

Don’t let Cyber Grinches steal your cash and holiday cheer. To keep you cyber safe for the holidays, we’ll be counting down the twelve most popular scams to watch out for this season.

Popular scams on Facebook include the “Secret Sister” Gift Exchange or “Secret Wine Bottle Exchange”.  With the Secret Sister scam, it claims that if you buy a  $10 gift,  send it to a “secret sister” and add your name to a list  you will receive anywhere from 6 to 36 gifts in return.  You are encouraged to invite your Facebook friends to join in on the exchange. It’s the same with the wine exchange, where bottle of wine are the “gifts”. This is basically a digital chain letter and an illegal pyramid scheme. The scheme comes with a catch.  It requires that the participants reveal personal information, such as name and home address.  This is all a fraudster needs to begin piecing the digital breadcrumbs together to commit identity theft.
Tip:  Do not give out personal information to anyone on social media.  Chain letters via social media that involve money or valuable items and the promise of big returns on investments are illegal.  If you participate, you could be committing a crime, so If you see this post, ignore.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself from Holiday Gift Exchange Scams and other scams from Adam Levin’s newest book, Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.  This is your survival guide to help you avoid hackers, phishers, and scammers from becoming your problem during the holidays. With a clear headed, practical approach, Swiped is invaluable not only for preventing problems but helping consumers cope when dealing with identity theft incidents. Order your copy of the best selling Privacy and Online Safety book on Amazon.