#8) Hot holiday deal scams
Hot holiday deals were included in last year’s list, but that post was more about stolen and fake goods. Last year’s tip still applies because there are still plenty of disreputable vendors doing business in the wild. But, there are also plenty of hot holiday deal scams making the email rounds this year. One I’ve been seeing a lot of lately has to do with the “Shark Tank Greatest Product.”
Once again, the scammers are taking advantage of high visibility celebrities to make their not-so-great email offers more attractive. In this case, the email I received read:
The sharks all took out their phones and snapped this lens on and were blown away by how incredible the photos were. They were more vivid and 15x clearer. All 3 went in togeather for a record-deal.
Let’s ignore the typos in the message for a minute and remember that claims like this are simply a lure to drum up business for the scammer. The product may not be an outright scam, but the potential for fraud is high. So, when looking at hot holiday deals, it’s definitely a case of buyer beware. It’s far better to sacrifice a better price for a more reputable vendor and product.
#7) Not-so-merry mobile apps
Apple recently purged thousands of apps from the App Store. Why? The apps weren’t up to today’s standards. In the past, Android apps were riddled with malware. While the situation has improved, a security company recently disclosed a new incidence of the problem. The “Dress Code” malware, which made it into about forty apps, has now been downloaded around a half million times. That’s a lot of infected phones.
It’s unrealistic to expect anyone to completely protect themselves from malware on a phone. After all, it would mean never downloading an app, connecting to a website, or opening an email. So, for those who want to actually use their phones, the best solution is to be cautious. Download apps from reputable sources such as the App Store or Google Play, only connect to trusted websites, and never click a link in an email that comes from an unknown source.
Smartphones are no different from a laptop or desktop computer. They require the same kinds of security precautions to avoid a not-so-merry surprise.