Valentine’s Day brings out the passion and kindness we have for love and online scammers know that consumers are more open to accepting cards, gifts and invitations during the holiday. Below are a few tips for safeguarding yourself while on your journey to find love online.
1. The Dark Side of Dating Websites
Dating websites – and modern dating apps – are a prime target for hackers. There is a peak in online dating activity between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, and cybercriminals are ready to take advantage of the spike in activity on popular dating sites like Tinder.
When a user is asked to “look at my other profile,” this is most likely a scam! Be careful about links to another website. Scammers will often try to remove you from the relative safety of the site you are on. If you receive a shortened URL, you can usually expand them to see where they end up. Also try searching the link and if nothing comes up ignore it.
2. Greeting Cards From the Grave
In elementary school, who didn’t love receiving dozens of paper Valentine cards delivered personally? Fast forward to 2021, electronic greeting cards (e-cards) evoke a similar thrill, but with instant gratification.
Opening an e-card can speed up malware onto your machine or turn your computer into a spam-sending member of a botnet. Don’t click on links to download software to view a card. Instead, go directly to a company’s website to open it. If the e-card is legitimate, there will be a confirmation code that allows you to open it directly on the website.
3. Spam Valentine’s
During the holiday’s everyone seems to have the best deal in town on jewelry, flowers and even chocolates delivered exclusively to your inbox. But wait! Before you go all out for your hunny do your research! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is especially true if the email is coming from a retailer that you haven’t done business with or doesn’t address you personally. The links in these emails can download malware or redirect you to a fake website to fool you out of personal information including your address and credit card information. It’s better to shop at known retailers than trust spam websites set up to take your money and leave you heartbroken.