With the growing popularity of online dating and the rise of e-commerce, Valentine's Day has also become a prime target for cybercriminals and scammers. Here are some of the top threats:
One of the biggest cybersecurity threats during Valentine's Day is phishing. Scammers may create fake websites that mimic popular online stores and trick people into entering their personal and financial information. This information can then be used for identity theft and fraud.
Gift Card Scams
Another scam that is common during Valentine's Day is the "gift card scam." In this scam, scammers will send emails or messages to people, claiming to be from a popular store, and asking them to purchase a gift card and send the code to a specified email address. The scammers will then use the gift card to make purchases for themselves, leaving the victim out of pocket. Pig Butchering Scams
Pig butchering scams, a new form of digital swindle, are on the rise and posing a significant threat to individuals. This type of scam originated in China and involves tricking victims into investing in a cryptocurrency scheme. Scammers will cold-contact individuals through SMS texting or social media platforms and establish a rapport by pretending to be a new friend. They will then suggest the individual invest in cryptocurrency and direct them to a malicious app or platform that appears trustworthy. The platform is designed to look legitimate, complete with real-time market data and a video call feature with the supposed friend.
Once the victim funds their account, they will see their balance grow, adding to their sense of security. However, once the scammers have obtained all the money they can from the victim, they will shut down the account and disappear. This type of scam is particularly dangerous because it is designed to manipulate victims into trusting their attackers, making it difficult for individuals to detect that they are being scammed. How Consumers Can Protect Themselves Tyler Moffitt, Senior Analyst at OpenText Cybersecurity shared how users can protect their data and identity this Valentine's Day:
Never give money or private data like birth dates and bank account numbers.
Trust your instincts; if it feels too fast or good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often claim to have fallen in love very quickly or without having met their “match” in person.
Don’t send intimate pictures or videos. Scammers may use them to extort money from you.
Don’t share your address, daily routine or places you visit frequently
Be suspicious of someone who asks you to move your communication off the dating site/app to a different platform; this could be a sign that the person is trying to avoid detection, being flagged or that they want to share a malicious link for you to click on.
Use a dating site/app that offers security features, such as the ability to verify the identity of others.