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5 Ways ID Thieves Target You at the Holidays

"Card" tricks: Scammers like to trap consumers with phone email and social network greeting cards that cause you to download what McAfee calls "Merry malware" greetings that give you plenty of virus trouble, but no season's greetings. The rule? If it says it's from a friend or family member, check with them before opening it. If it comes from someone you don't know, throw it out.

Shipping headaches: Gifts come and go during the holiday season, and often it's hard to keep track of who's shipping what to you and vice versa. So check carefully before you open any "shipping notification" messages. ID thieves often craft phony notices to get you to click on a link and download malware designed to grab your data.

Also, watch out for deceptive online advertisements that offer "discount" gift cards. Check with the retailer first before you buy one, even if you see a can't-miss deal on a social media site. It could be a scam.

In addition, double check the authenticity of any special app you're downloading during the holiday season. McAfee advises checking the apps' comments section before downloading to make sure it's legitimate.

All in all, McAfee says that if you come across a deal that's too good to be true, it likely is.

So keep your guard up, install a good security software package and always be vigilant about with whom you share data.

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