The Eighth Scam of Christmas – Coupon Codes and Free iPads

For the eighth scam of Christmas, the criminals gave to me a coupon in exchange for my identity!

With the popularity of shows like Extreme Couponing, viewers learn that there are coupons or everything, right? Not so fast!

Since my days of participating in The S.P.A.M. Experiment , I have known that there is no such thing as the “Free iPad” ( or laptop or gaming console, etc) no matter what the banner ad says! Still criminals know that they can get unsuspecting victims to click on those phony links by offering irresistible lures.

When you click on those “Free iPad” links or bad coupon links, you are diverted to a site that asks for personal information. When you give up this info such as your email address, you get Spammed. If you give up more information, such as address and credit card information, you can get more than you bargained for – and no iPad in sight!

Criminals also try to trick victims by offering online coupon codes. Once the victim agrees to get the coupon, they are asked for personal information such as credit card details, passwords and other financial data.

I know that it is tempting to get a good deal, but giving up your personal information to the wrong person can make you a victim of identity theft and will cause you months and months of anguish. Stay safe this holiday, by following the following advice:

1.    Guard your financial information. Never give out credit card, social security number, address, etc after clicking on a link.

2.    Use credit cards only on reputable websites – look for McAfee Secure Trustmark and secure connections (https rather than http)

3.    Never share credit card information or other personal info via email

4.    Check monthly statements and credit reports for fraud.

For more information about Identity theft, follow Robert Sicilliano’s blog.

Stay safe out there and Happy Holidays!


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