12 Scams of Christmas: Infected online ads

12 Scams of Christmas: Infected online ads

From phony charities to porch pirates, it's the season of taking for scammers.

There are so many ways for thieves to take advantage of our generosity this time of year.

“It is incredible how they take advantage during the holiday season,” Steve Weisman, who is the author of Identity Theft Alert and Bentley University professor, said.

Weisman said the holiday season creates a perfect storm. We're more generous, and we're using our credit cards -- potentially exposing our information -- a lot more.

So, for the next 12 days, NBC 10 is giving you a new scam warning every day.

Day One: Infected online ads

“There are ads that are infected with malware, and they turn up on legitimate websites,” warned Weisman.

You might be shopping on a reputable website, but that ad in the corner is a completely different story.

“You click on a link on that ad and boom, you've just downloaded malware into your computer,” saidWeisman.

It’s the kind of malware that could log your keystrokes when you’re typing in your credit card number, or lock up your computer and demand ransom.

“Online ads infected with Malware is part of my motto of, it's not as bad as you think, it is so much worse,” said Weisman.

You're probably thinking, "I never click those ads... So I'm safe, right?"

“That's not even enough,” cautioned Weisman. “There are scammers that will infect certain ads, and what they do then is they infect these with a type of malware that will infect the entire legitimate website that you go to.”

What's an online shopper to do?

“There is a type of security software that will screen out all ads, and that you can use to protect yourself from this,” said Weisman.

Regular antivirus won't do the trick. You need to download anti-adware to keep your device safe.

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