Cyber Monday is to online retailers what Black Friday is for brick and mortar retailers. This soon to be Hallmark holiday is where online retailers help kick off a season of sales. While most aren’t discounting products as low as they did on Black Friday, there are still plenty of savings to be found. Even Canadian online retailers jumped on board and are creating sale prices to stay competitive with their American counterparts, especially with a strong Canadian dollar that has shoppers looking for deals in the USA.

Along with the great online deals also comes what the Internet security experts at McAfee calls “The Twelve Scams of Christmas”. The biggest scam is the iPad giveaway where people give their credit card number to purchase other inexpensive items to receive a free iPad. The problem is that neither the iPad nor the other products ever get delivered.

The second scam is the ever popular “Help! I’ve Been Robbed” Scam that victims get through their email or social networking sites from friends of friends of friends, but no one seems to have really met this person. This is very similar to the “I need help with medical expenses” scam where people build up a network of friends on social networking sites with the eventual plan of parting them of their money.

The third scam according to McAfee is the Fake Gift Cards, where you are offered gift cards for becoming a fan of a company on social media sites and taking some quizzes and surveys. These are not for market research purposes, but a method of gathering your information to steal your identity.

The Holiday Job Offers are aimed at people seeking extra cash for gifts this holiday season, some scams offer dangerous links to high-paying, work-at-home jobs that ask for your personal information, such as your email address, home address and Social Security number to apply for the fake job. Other such job scams ask you to send a registration fee by online payment services as an administration fee.

“Smishing” is one that I have never heard called that before, but I have received phishing messages via SMS text messages on cell phones. These texts appear to come from your bank or an online retailer saying that there is something wrong with an account and you have to call a number to verify your account information. In reality, these efforts are merely a ruse to extract valuable personal information from the targets. These criminals know all too well that people are more vulnerable to this scam during the holiday season when many people are doing more online shopping and checking bank balances frequently.

For a complete list of the “Twelve scams of Christmas” visit Twelve Scams of Christmas

An acquaintance of mine is currently work shopping a seminar on how to avoid identity theft and online scams. He is creating his seminar less at consumers and more towards small and medium size businesses who do not have full time IT or Internet security person. As he was starting to ask me if I knew of a place he could hold his training seminars downtown Toronto, he could see that I was already formulating an answer for him. He stopped mid sentence and said “your Toronto office space has seminar training rooms for rent?” It seems that even my friends are starting to realize just how much I love my Downtown Toronto office space and how much better it is for my business and expenses than having a unserviced office rental.