Just something we were reading and wants to share with you. See warnings below by McAfee Inc.
McAfee, Inc. Warns Consumers about "The Twelve Scams of Christmas," or Popular Online Attacks This Holiday Season
Cybercriminals Take Advantage of the Holiday Season, Aiming to Steal Consumers’ Money, Identities and Financial Information
SANTA CLARA, Calif., November 19, 2009 - As cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the holiday season, McAfee, Inc. (NYSE:MFE) today revealed the “Twelve Scams of Christmas” – the twelve most dangerous online scams that computer users should be cautious of this holiday season. According to Consumer Reports’ 2009 State of the Net Survey, cybercriminals have bilked $8 billion from consumers in the past two years, and McAfee warns consumers not to fall victim to the top scams this year.
“Cybercriminals’ use their best schemes during the holidays to steal people’s money, credit card information, social security number and identity,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “These thieves follow seasonal trends and create holiday-related Web sites, scams and other convincing e-mails that can trick even the most cautious users.”
McAfee’s Twelve Scams of Christmas
Scam I: Charity Phishing Scams – Be Careful Who You Give To
During the holiday season, hackers take advantage of citizens’ generosity by sending e-mails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations. In reality, they are fake Web sites designed to steal donations, credit card information and the identities of donors.
Scam II: Fake Invoices from Delivery Services to Steal Your Money
During the holidays, cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications appearing to be from Federal Express, UPS or the U.S. Customs Service. They e-mail consumers asking for credit card details to credit back the account, or require users to open an online invoice or customs form to receive the package. Once completed, the person’s information is stolen or malware is automatically installed on their computer.
Scam III: Social Networking – A Cybercriminal “Wants to be Your Friend”
Cybercriminals take advantage of this social time of the year by sending authentic-looking “New Friend Request” e-mails from social networking sites. Internet users should beware that clicking on links in these e-mails can automatically install malware on computers and steal personal information.
Scam IV: The Dangers of Holiday E-Cards
Cyber thieves cash in on consumers who send holiday e-cards in an effort to be environmentally conscious. Last holiday season, McAfee Labs discovered a worm masked as Hallmark e-cards and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola holiday promotions. Holiday-themed PowerPoint e-mail attachments are also popular among cybercriminals. Be careful what you click on.
Scam V: “Luxury” Holiday Jewelry Comes at a High Price
McAfee Labs recently uncovered a new holiday campaign that leads shoppers to malware-ridden sites offering “discounted” luxury gifts from Cartier, Gucci, and Tag Heuer. Cybercriminals even use fraudulent logos of the Better Business Bureau to trick shoppers into buying products they never receive.
Scam VI: Practice Safe Holiday Shopping – Online Identity Theft on the Rise
Forrester Research Inc. predicts online holiday sales will increase this year, as more bargain hunters turn to the Web for deals. While users shop and surf on open hotspots, hackers can spy on their activity in an attempt to steal their personal information. McAfee tells users never to shop online from a public computer or on an open Wi-Fi network.
Scam VII: Christmas Carol Lyrics Can Be Dangerous – Risky Holiday Searches
During the holidays, hackers create fraudulent holiday-related Web sites for people searching for a holiday ringtone or wallpaper, Christmas carol lyrics or a festive screensaver. Downloading holiday-themed files may infect one’s computer with spyware, adware or other malware. McAfee found one Christmas carol download site that led searchers to adware, spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.
Scam VIII: Out of Work – Job-Related E-mail Scams
The U.S. unemployment rate recently spiked to 10.2 per cent, the highest level since 1983. Scammers are preying on desperate job-seekers in the poor economy, with the promise of high-paying jobs and work-from-home moneymaking opportunities. Once interested persons submit their information and pay their “set-up” fee, hackers steal their money instead of following through on the promised employment opportunity.
Scam IX: Outbidding for Crime – Auction Site Fraud
Scammers often lurk on auction sites during the holiday season. Buyers should beware of auction deals that appear too good to be true, because often times these purchases never reach their new owner.
Scam X: Password Stealing Scams
Password theft is rampant during the holidays, as thieves use low-cost tools to uncover a person’s password and send out malware to record keystrokes, called keylogging. Once criminals have access to one or more passwords, they gain vast access to consumers’ bank and credit card details and clean out accounts within minutes. They also commonly send out spam from a user’s account to their contacts.
Scam XI: E-Mail Banking Scams
Cybercriminals trick consumers into divulging their bank details by sending official-looking e-mails from financial institutions. They ask users to confirm their account information, including a user name and password, with a warning that their account will become invalid if they do not comply. Then they often sell this information through an underground online black market.
McAfee Labs believes cybercriminals are more actively scamming consumers with this tactic during the holidays since people are monitoring their purchases closely.
Scam XII: Your Files for Ransom – Ransomware Scams
Hackers gain control of people’s computers through several of these holiday scams. They then act as virtual kidnappers to hijack computer files and encrypt them, making them unreadable and inaccessible. The scammer holds the user’s files ransom by demanding payment in exchange for getting them back.
I have seen Bassem Wahba's work for years now. See, my friends got married in California and he travelled there to photograph their wedding. I was impressed with the results.
I love the way he sees the world through his lenses. He just recently updated his website. I invited you to check it out for yourself.
I finally had to chance to meet Bassem recently at another friends' wedding. If you ever have a chance to see him in action, you would think he's a tiger. He is very quick. He is somehow able to capture the moment and at the same time capture the audience's reaction to the moment.
I love his entire work but my favourite section on his website has to be "You + Me". Basically, he captures himself with the bride and groom doing crazy but imaginative things.
If you are getting married and he is able to accommodate your wedding date, you will not be disappointed.
Just want to pass along so every important information. If you are opposed to the new Harmonized Sales Tax that the Ontario Government is proposed or not sure how it will affect you, please read on.
Note: it will affect the amount of tax you pay for your invitations or stationery with us. Currently, you only pay 8%, after July 1, 2010, if this tax takes effect, it would be 13%.
Please read below, a message from Paul Jacobs, Q.C., C. Med., C. Arb.
"Next summer (2010) the Ontario Government is set to put into force its new harmonized GST/PST sales tax which will apply a 13% sales tax to everything we purchase.
Things That Were Not Subject To The Current 8% PST Will Be Now Taxed
As a result, things that were not previously taxed under the current Ontario Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be taxed at 8%.
The new 13% tax will therefore apply to things like your electric bill, your gas bill, your water bill, condominium fees, insurance premiums, and every other good and service you purchase. There are almost no exemptions.
The current Ontario PST tax does not apply to services, nor does it apply to the purchase of certain goods. The new 13% tax will therefore extend the old 8% PST tax rate to the purchase of all goods and all services.
The New 13% Tax Will Apply To The Purchase of All New Homes
The new harmonized GST/PST will also apply to all purchases of all new homes. If a person were to purchase a new $1 million dollar home in Toronto, they would have to pay roughly $200,000 in taxes as a result of the Ontario land transfer tax, the new city of Toronto land transfer tax, and the new harmonized 13% GST/PST.
Think about that and what that would do to real estate values in Toronto.
It will cause property values to fall and kill the new home construction industry and the jobs it creates.
And it won't be long before you'll hear our elected representatives telling us that, because of the harm that has been inflicted to the new home construction industry by the new 13% tax, it would be "fair" to extend the new 13% tax to sales of existing homes.
The New 13% Tax Is An Assault On Your Primary Residence
Canadians have had two things that they have always been able to count on as being tax free - things that they could use to save money and accumulate wealth. They are your: (a) primary home; and (b) RRSP. That's it.
The extension of the new 13% GST/PST to homes is simply a tax assault by the government on your primary home. They want to tax your primary home and you will suffer because of it.
Why? Because if a purchaser has to pay almost $200,000 in taxes to buy your $1 million dollar home, the purchaser is going to pay less to you for your home. The purchaser will reduce the amount he or she is willing to pay to you in order to pay all the taxes.
The New 13% Tax Will Effectively Raise Your Income Taxes
Currently, the combined Federal/Ontario income tax rates are roughly 25% on the first $20,000 of taxable income, 42% on the next $40,000 of taxable income, and 46.5% on each dollar of taxable income over $60,000. On top of that you have to add the "Fair Share Health Tax" of up to $1,000 each of us has to pay.
If the Ontario Government gets away wit h implementing their new harmonized GST/PST sales tax of 13%, the top effective income tax rates in Ontario will be as follows (since you can't spend any of your tax paid dollars without paying the new harmonized 13% GST/PST tax):
38% on the first $20,000
53% on the next $40,000
59.5% on every dollar over $60,000
On top of that, you have to pay your Ontario Fair Share Health Tax, your city realty taxes, your city garbage fees, your city water fees, your city street parking permit fees, your annual Ontario and new city of Toronto vehicle license plate fees, your Ontario land transfer tax, your new city of Toronto land transfer tax, your gasoline taxes, your liquor taxes, your air departure taxes, your entertainment taxes, and so on.
OF ALL THE MONEY YOU WORKED HARD TO EARN, WHAT PERCENTAGE ARE YOU REALLY KEEPING FOR YOUR OWN USE? 25%? 20%? 10%?
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - FIGHT BACK
THIS HAS GOT TO STOP HERE OR WE WILL ALL SOON BE WORKING FULL TIME FOR THE VARIOUS LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT IN ONTARIO.
YOU CAN ALREADY SEE HOW ARE LIFESTYLES ARE DECLINING BECAUSE OF THE ENORMOUS TAX LOAD WE BEAR.
AS A RESULT, I URGE YOU TO TAKE THIS ISSUE SERIOUSLY AND TO FILL AND AND SIGN THE PETITION AT www.unfairtaxgrab.com AGAINST THE NEW HARMONIZED GST/PST TAX SET OUT BELOW.
I WOULD ALSO ASK YOU TO NOTIFY OTHERS THAT YOU KNOW AND ASK THEM TO DO THE SAME.
IF WE DON'T WORK TOGETHER ON THIS ISSUE THE NEW HARMONIZED 13% SALES TAX WILL BECOME A REALITY NEXT SUMMER.
Dalton McGuinty claims "no one is complaining" about his unfair tax grab. You proved him wrong this week. On Wednesday we sent out a request asking you to send a message to the McGuinty Government about the HST. Almost instantly our email box began to fill. By the end of the day we'd received nearly 2,000 messages..
New Democrat Members of Provincial Parliament did their best to read them into the record in the Legislature, but they simply ran out of time. The good news is: there are more debates to come and we'll be sending you details about how to keep up the fight against this unfair tax grab. In the meantime, you can read a transcript of the debate here .
My name is Judene McCalla. If you ask anyone who does custom handmade invitations, how they got started, they would probably say - scrapbooking. I am no exception. I love creating new invitations and other stationery and seeing the look of joy on my client's faces.Hope you enjoy this blog.