Christmas tech scams roundup

Christmas tech scams roundup

There’s a fair few Christmas tech scams floating around out there as 2018 winds up, and we thought it’d be a good time to warn you about them. It’s the usual mish-mash of phone antics, social media shenanigans, and click bait. Shall we begin?

This scam looks divine

BOOM reports on a collection of anti-aging cream websites targeting regions such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, and Colombia. Numerous pages on Facebook provide a launchpad for the sites promoting the product. Alongside the cookie-cutter sites offering up the product, there are also imitation news websites claiming various movie and TV stars are promoting it. Indeed, one site claims Nicole Kidman created it. Philippines actress Carmina Villaroel had to deny any involvement with the scam in question on her Instagram page.

Many people have complained about being duped after seeing their ads on social media platforms. That, plus the fake movie/TV star claims means you should give this one a wide berth.

Netflix mail scam

Fake missives from scammers are a year-round proposition, but it pays to be wary over Christmas. Many a too-good-to-be-true offers turn out to be just that: a scam. Before you know it, your payment details are swiped and your logins are gone for good measure.

Ohio law enforcement is warning of bogus Netflix mails, with the intention being financial theft as per the “Please update your payment details” message. Netflix-themed fakes serve as a launchpad for a variety of bad behaviour. Tech support scams, account disabled shenanigans, and dubious “membership paused” attempts are all par for the course.

Bitcoin bonanza? Not exactly

Bitcoin scams involving fake Elon Musk accounts have been all the rage on Twitter for some time. Turns out Bitcoin fakeouts are also a fun little earner for scammers on Facebook, too. There may not be any pretend Musk accounts involved, but the end game is the same: make as much money as possible. They set up fake profiles imitating the company whose page they’re posting to, claiming to have partnered with Bitcoin. At this point, potential victims are encouraged to send over some digital dough to verify themselves. If you’re thinking the promised windfall of Bitcoins doesn’t materialise afterward, you’re 100 percent correct.

Hitman for hire emails

Sticking with the Bitcoin theme, we bring your attention to bogus Hitman emails offering you a chance to live in return for $4,000 in Bitcoin. Very charitable of them, but also complete and utter nonsense. Fake hitman emails


have been around for many years, but there’s nothing like a bit of online intimidation to open up wallets. Take our advice and send anything you receive along these lines straight to the recycle bin.

Avoid these Facebook ads

With roughly 100 sites and around 300 individual reports claiming


certain ads are up to no good, caution is advised. Promoting various forms of tech gifts for Christmas, nothing arrives and the victim is left out of pocket. The sites themselves are also apparently not sticking around too long, making things even more difficult to sort out after the event. As always, if you combine a site you’re not familiar with and an “if it’s too good to be true…” reaction, then you’re probably on the right track.

Moral of the story here is: Christmastime isn’t always the season of good cheer and merriment—sometimes it’s also the season for ripping people off. Despite your best intentions online, whether that’s buying presents for loved ones or simply checking your email, there’s always a Grinch lurking somewhere. So be vigilant and be safe, and you can have a happy holiday yet!


Christopher Boyd

Former Director of Research at FaceTime Security Labs. He has a very particular set of skills. Skills that make him a nightmare for threats like you.