‘Tis the season to be in love, and Valentine’s Day gives lovers across the world the perfect opportunity to express that love through cards, roses, candlelight dinners and gifts. Today, the Internet has become a prime media for the exchange of greetings, purchase of gifts and booking of tables and holidays for the occasion. This gives cyber criminals the wonderful opportunity to scam any gullible netizen who step into their trap, unaware!
McAfee Labs expects 400% rise in Valentine-themed messages as we approach the holiday. In other words, cyber criminals will try to exploit netizens with romance-related scams that aim at stealing personal information and money, or spreading malware.
McAfee has listed some of the ways the bad guys will opt for to break your heart and wallet:
- Attractive Valentine’s Day deals: Tempted by the heavy discounts offered ?
Or by the almost identical seconds at 90% reduced prices compared to the originals?
STOP; don’t click on the image or link. Ponder, why would a seller sell to you at a loss? These offers sound too good to be true and usually are. These emails are likely to be carriers of malware and other viruses that unsuspecting consumers download when they click on the images. So research the sites first.
- Love Exploits: These inspire you to open a friendly message filled with malware. They have links to videos or cards or there are attachments to the mail that ask for your permission to download and save in your computer. Once downloaded, they stealthily install malware on your computer.
- The Online Dating Scams: Men are more susceptible to these scams. Read what Adam has to say here. Many singles desperately look for partners during the Valentine’s Week. They hook up with good-looking people online and become close to them. Often these online dates scam them by asking for monetary help etc.
So how to stay safe and yet organize a special Valentine’s Day evening online?
i Safe Site: Check the authenticity of a site, its transaction policy, buyer’s review before making a purchase
ii Safe Dating: if you do select a date online, use only paid dating sites and be suspicious of anyone who claims to fall in love too fast, and requests for your credit card or bank details
iii Safe Mailing: Don’t automatically click on all Valentine-themed messages. First, verify the sender, and if the sender is a stranger with a funny id…desist from clicking on attachments or links. In the case of e-cards, check the address it was sent from and validate the sites legitimacy through an online search, even if a friend has sent that card
iv Safe Searching: McAfee reports that there was a 5000% jump in the search for the phrase “Rose Day” this year. Such searches offer hackers the perfect hunting grounds. So use a safe search tool, like McAfee SiteAdvisor ™, which can warn you if a site is unsafe.
v Safeguarding: A lot of these problems can be avoided if you have installed a comprehensive security software on your PC, laptop, or phone. You will be automatically warned about unsafe sites and spams and scams.
For more details on scams on Valentine’s Day read here.