Beware Cupid’s Cyber Tricks: Protect Yourself from Valentine’s Day Scams
February 2024 by Check Point
Love may be in the air this Valentine’s Day, but so are cyber scams looking to prey on unsuspecting romantics. While it is a time for expressing affection and appreciation, it is also prime time for cybercriminals to exploit emotions for financial gain. This has been proven by the team at Check Point Research, who saw the creation of 18,171 new domains containing ’Valentine’ or ’love’ in January, indicating a 39% increase from the previous month and a 17% increase from the year before, one out of every eight of these domains was found to be malicious or risky, underscoring the hidden dangers in our search for connection.
Here are some common Valentine’s Day scams to watch out for:
1. Phishing Emails and Texts: Be cautious of unsolicited emails or texts offering romantic deals, gifts, or e-cards. Clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown senders could lead to malware infections or phishing attempts to steal personal and financial information.
2. Fake Online Retailers: Scammers create fake online stores selling counterfeit or non-existent Valentine’s Day gifts at irresistible prices. Before making a purchase, research the retailer, look for reviews, and ensure the website is secure (look for HTTPS and a padlock symbol in the address bar).
3. Social Media Scams: Fraudsters exploit social media platforms with fake profiles, love scams, or requests for money under false pretences. Avoid sharing personal details with strangers online and be wary of romantic advances from individuals you have not met in person.
4. Romance Scams: Cybercriminals create fake online personas to develop romantic relationships with victims, often over an extended period. Eventually, they request money for various reasons, such as medical emergencies or travel expenses, and disappear once funds are transferred.
5. E-card Scams: While e-cards can be a convenient way to send Valentine’s Day wishes, beware of suspicious links in e-cards that could lead to malware-infected websites or phishing pages designed to steal login credentials.
To protect yourself from Valentine’s Day scams:
– Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts and enable two-factor authentication where available.
– Keep your devices and software up to date with the latest security patches.
– Be cautious of sharing personal information online, especially with individuals you haven’t met in person.
– Verify the legitimacy of websites, charities, and retailers before making purchases or donations.
– Educate yourself and your loved ones about common scams and how to recognise and avoid them.
Remember, while Valentine’s Day is a time for love and generosity, it is also essential to remain vigilant and protect yourself from cyber threats.