December 'a prime month' for credit card scams

Australians are at greater risk of credit card fraud in December than in any other month of the year, an expert has said.

Beth Jones, a senior threat researcher with Sophos, a security software firm, observed that scammers aiming to con consumers out of their credit card information are often more active in the days before Christmas.

Speaking to Australian Macworld, she said: "The two-week mark before Christmas is when things start to ramp up out of control.

"Spammers and malware authors focus on when the attention is going to be there. That’s generally two weeks before a holiday."

Ms Jones outlined a number of common holiday scams, noting that the offer of free gift cards is one "big-affiliate scam" going around at present.

This sees gift card offers used as an "identity theft gimmick" whereby personal information is stolen and sold on for profit.

Aussies looking to compare credit cards this Christmas should be aware of such threats and navigate online promotions carefully. Ms Jones noted that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are among the online forums where consumers can be targeted by scammers.

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