The 12 Identity Thefts Of Christmas

On the twelve days of Christmas, my identity thief sent to me…

  1. Phishing
  2. Fake email receipts
  3. Skimmers
  4. Bots
  5. Mail Theft
  6. Friends and family
  7. E-cards
  8. Pickpockets
  9. Burglars
  10. Auction fraud
  11. Charity
  12. Hard drive

Christmas is a time of giving, but in the 12 days prior to the 25th, some are more inclined to take instead.

The festive season offers more opportunities than usual for identity thieves.


Here are 12 ways in which you may have your identity stolen this Christmas –

1. Phishing

Phishing is all about tricking a victim into entering personal and financial information into an email or fake website.

2. Fake Email Receipts

A new variation of an old scam utilises email notifications for receipts for goods that you never even ordered.

The aim with this scam is to install a Trojan horse, or some other equally malicious piece of code onto your computer system when you open the attachment.

This code will then steal passwords and other sensitive information, wrap them up and then present them to an identity thief.

3. Skimmers

Skimmers are small credit and debit card readers that are employed at ATMs.

They are designed to steal card details, and may be used in conjunction with a hidden camera in order to acquire PIN numbers too.

4. Bots

Bots are small pieces of code, somewhat like computer viruses, that are used to hijack infected computers.

These ‘zombies‘ are then used to attack other computers, distribute more malicious code and bots, and steal passwords and identities.

5. Mail Theft

Mail theft has offered easy pickings for identity thieves for many years.

In addition to people looking for your private correspondence in order to steal your identity, also be aware of petty criminals who steal cheques and other items of mail.

6. Friends & Family

Sadly, most identity thieves know those who commit the crime very well.

Often, identity thieves will be family members, friends or work colleagues.

7. E-Cards

E-cards should always be treated with suspicion.

Many can contain nasty surprises, such as viruses and worms that can target your identity.

8. Pickpockets

If you need to rush out and get that last minute gift then be aware.

Pickpockets love big crowds, big spending, and stressed out shoppers who are too busy panicking to realise they are being robbed.

9. Burglary

Common criminals are seeing diminishing returns on traditional stolen goods.

Many now realise that financial paperwork can often be more valuable than having to carry a huge and heavy tv set.

10. Auction fraud

Close to half of all online fraud originates from online auctions.

Sites such as eBay do offer some protection but make sure you are aware of any terms and conditions before spending large amounts of money.

11. Charity

Thieves are looking to take from those who are happy to give.

Fake charities, fake websites and spoofed emails are far more common at this time of year.

12. Hard drive

If you receive a new computer for Christmas then think carefully about how you may discard the old one.

Even brand new hard drives can contain surprises – just think what data may be left on your old one!

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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