McAfee is urging computer users to be wary of offers that look too good to be true this Christmas, after noting that scammers are increasingly using the iPad as a lure to obtain credit card details.
In the spam version of the scam, victims are encouraged to first buy other products in order to get a free iPad, supplying their credit card details in the process.
"Victims never receive the iPad or the other items, just the headache of reporting a stolen credit card number," said Dave Marcus, director of security research at McAfee Labs.
A variation of this attack asks victims to supply their mobile phone number, which is then subscribed to a high-cost telecoms service.
McAfee also warned of a range of other scams likely to increase in frequency over the coming month. Business travelers, for example, could be at risk if they use unsecured mobile and wireless networks such as those found in hotels, said the vendor.
"Scams continue to be big business for cyber criminals who have their sights set on capitalising on open hearts and wallets this holiday season," said Marcus.
"As people jump online to look for deals on gifts and travel, it's important to recognise the common scams to safeguard against theft during the busy season ahead."
Another attack involves bogus distress messages from friends and family who might be travelling abroad asking for money to be wired in order to help them get home.
Cyber crooks may also turn to social media to promote fake gift cards, which are nothing more than a hook for consumer information which is often sold to marketers or used for identity theft.
Another personal data harvest could be perpetrated through SMS phishing attacks which purport to come from a bank or other trusted site, and ask users to input their password and log-in information.
"Cyber crooks know that people are more vulnerable to this scam during the holiday season when they are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently," said McAfee.
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