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12 scams of Christmas to look out for so the Grinch doesn’t steal your holiday joy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 14, 2014)-- The season of giving have arrived. As much cheer as the holiday season brings, it's a playground for scammers and hackers.

Anti-virus software company, McAfee released the 12 Scams of the Holidays list to make sure shoppers are being smart online, on mobile devices and in stores.

The 12 scams include:

  1. You've Got Mail: Think twice about clicking links in shipping notification emails. Verify the email is really from the company before giving away any personal information.
  2. Deceptive Advertising: Beware of deals that are too good to be true. Make sure online and social contests are posted on a company's official page before clicking and entering your contact information.
  3. Chilling Charities: Many of you will be donating this season, but do your research and double-check the URL before you give online. Go directly to the charity's page to make sure your money ends up in the right place.
  4. Buyer Beware: Check your credit card statements every single month. Point-of-sale breaches have made headlines frequently, and likely will again before the holiday season is over. Some of your consumer rights have a time limit, so don't wait several months before reporting any suspicious activity on your statements.
  5. iScams: Your smartphone is also your credit card, house key, camera and email. It makes you more vulnerable to malware. Stick to official apps to download.
  6. Getting Carded: Don't open e-cards unless they're from someone you know and a trustworthy site. The link could set you up for malware.
  7. Holiday Travel Scams: Avoid fake online deal links offering low price airfare or hotel rooms. Make sure the links go back to a trustworthy site before you click.
  8.  Bank Robocall Scam: Be suspicious of phone calls from your bank or credit card who claim your account has been hacked, then ask for personal information to fix it. If you're ever in doubt, hang up and call the company directly.
  9.  ATM Skimming: Before you get cash, check out your ATM. If the cover, keypad, or card slot look loose or different than usual, a skimmer device could have been placed there to steal your banking information.
  10. Year in Review Traps: You'll see a lot of year in review videos coming out in December. Clicking on suspicious links could infect your devices.
  11.  BYO... Device: Smartphones are often lost and stolen in the hustle and bustle of shopping and traveling during the holiday season. Don't leave your smartphone unattended to get stolen or hacked.
  12. Bad USB: Pass on the free USB giveaways. USB drives are an easy way for hackers to spread malware.

This time of year is also a peak season for identity thieves. The Better Business Bureau advises keeping a close eye on your credit card statements and checking your credit report.