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Black Friday alerts: Online scams abound, malls track you via cell

Ah, Black Friday--when your ID and your privacy can be in as much danger as your credit-card balance.

Veracode's Black Friday and Cyber Monday hacks and scams infographic highlights the online threats to shoppers.
Veracode's Black Friday and Cyber Monday hacks and scams infographic highlights the online threats to shoppers.

In addition to the usual online scams designed to defraud shoppers during the holiday season, several malls will be tracking people via their cell phones.

Beginning on Black Friday, Promenade Temecula, south of Los Angeles, and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va., will be monitoring signals from shoppers' cell phones, CNN reports.

Mall officials say they want to be able to see traffic patterns in the various stores. No personal data will be collected and the information will remain anonymous, they said. Shoppers are given notice by small signs around the malls.

"We won't be looking at singular shoppers," said Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, vice president of digital strategy for Forest City Commercial Management, which manages the malls. "The system monitors patterns of movement. We can see, like migrating birds, where people are going to."

Meanwhile, the FBI released its annual holiday shopping tips this week, warning consumers about the dangers of online scams.

Web surfers should be wary of bargain e-mails advertising one-day only promotions for recognized brands and phishing e-mails indicating a problem with a financial account. In addition, the FBI warns of the dangers of using potentially stolen gift cards and fraudulent classified ads and auctions. There is also general online safety tips that are good to follow any time of the year.

Because scammers can easily create fraudulent sites based on popular terms such as "cyber Monday deals," shoppers should buy from sites they know, according to security firm Veracode, which created a helpful infographic (see above).

Shoppers should also be wary of leaked Black Friday ads that could lead to malware, according to Veracode. And consumers should avoid falling for supposed free offers and too-good-to-be-true deals which undoubtedly are spam.