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updated 6/15/2012 10:50:17 AM ET 2012-06-15T14:50:17

Ambitious online crooks are celebrating Father's Day this weekend by lighting cigars and hitting the casino, possibly with your chips on the table.

In the run-up to Father's Day on Sunday (June 17), a new wave of spam messages have been circulating that prey on gift-givers looking for a convenient, classy present. Spotted by researchers at the security firm Sophos, the emails, from Philip at "Quality Cigars," offer a box of 12 Victor Sinclair cigars, plus a cutter, lighter and cherrywood-finish humidor, for $19.99.

Great deal, right? Dad will love it! Look at the picture in the email, it's a father and his adult son, sharing a stogie and a beer, smiling. What a day! He'll be so happy! He might, if the offer were real, and if clicking on the link to buy the cigars didn't actually redirect you to a gambling website.

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This scam is a textbook case of online crooks preying on the last-minute gift-giving frenzy that surround most major holidays. If you take a step back and look at the details of the email, you'll see some tried-and-true characteristics of a scam that, hopefully, you can avoid.

First off, try searching for Qualitycigars.com. How about Qualitycigars.net? Nothing, right? That's because it doesn't exist. Red flag No. 1. Then look at the address of the sender, Philip@givefather.com. Take the extra second and type in givefather.com. Same thing: A dud.

These two errors should be enough to show you that something is definitely amiss with this email. As with any emails that seem suspicious, you should immediately ignore this, and never click links embedded in the message or hand over your payment information, no matter how "real" the offer looks or how "exclusive" the deal.

If you want to buy your dad a cigar this Sunday, there are hundreds of legitimate cigar retail sites online, and plenty more brick-and-mortar shops. Or go ahead, take him to a casino and smoke your cigar there. At least at a casino all the cards are out on the table, so to speak, and there are no anonymous digital crooks vying to get into your wallet. 

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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