Online scams become more common as holiday shopping season rolls on

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Online scams are much more common in the month of December. From credit cards, to your Amazon account and even electronic Christmas cards the risks are much higher during the holidays.

"It's so easy to masquerade online," said Tom Patterson, Unisys' Chief Trust Officer for Unisys. "The old scams used to look really bad with broken English and bad spelling and poor graphics. Now, they look perfect."

Emails are one of the biggest sources for holiday scams. Your inbox can leave you victimized in a mouse click.

"This is the time around the world that billions of these phishing emails get sent out," he said. "Because there's no consequence to them. They can send it to a billion people and if one person clicks on it, they're happy."

There's no bigger target right now than Amazon users.

"They started to send out mass emails saying, 'There was a problem with your Amazon order. Click here and re-enter your credentials," he said.

Though it's tempting to urgently respond the solution is simple. Don't reply.

Runner-up to Amazon are web-based seasonal Christmas and holiday cards.

"There's lots of malware that can hide inside of a very real-looking holiday card," he said. "I encourage all my friends to not send me a holiday card."

It's best to just text your holiday cheer or mail it the old fashioned way. You'll also want to avoid the free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop.

"People are shopping online this year more so than ever before and that's a wonderful thing," Patterson said. "But when you get to the buying part, when you get to the part where you're putting in your credit card--I really beg you--do that from your home Wi-Fi."

Following Patterson's tips will increase your odds of escaping the holidays unscathed.

"Don't click through any emails, watch out for the holiday cards, don't use public Wi-Fi for your private information," said Patterson. "You'll have a much safer and happier holiday season."

Keep in mind: Amazon will never ask you for billing information through email.

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