The folks at Internet security leader McAfee Inc. are celebrating the holidays by sharing with us all their 12 Scams of Christmas.

Some are familiar; some are new. But all are nefarious attempts to take advantage of the charitable, giving — and spending — impulses we all have at this time of year.

Among the more innovative criminal connivances the Bad Santas have cooked up for us this holiday season:

Charity phishing scams. These use fake charity appeals to extract personal information from unwary users via bogus year-end-contribution request emails.

Holiday e-card solicitations. E-mails, often containing logos and images stolen from real e-card sites, that fool you into clicking on a link by claiming that someone has sent you an e-card but you need to download a plug-in to view it. What you actually get is a new virus infection.

Fake “New Friend” flags. On social networking sites. All you have to do to download a hidden virus is click on the link.

Among the common sense cautions that bear repeating:

Don’t leave your laptop unattended in a public place — even for a second — or in plain sight in your car, no matter how well locked the vehicle may be.

Take care when shopping online and never surrender personal ID, banking or credit card information unless you’re sure that the Web site you’re dealing with is legitimate.

Don’t ever respond to any email request that claims to be from your bank, asking you to reconfirm your account etails via retuern email. Banks don’t do that!

For your holiday peace of mind — and wallet — check out the full version of the 12 Scams of Christmas at the McAfee Web site and (re-)familiarize yourself with all the scams going around this season…

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