Bitdefender, creator of the world’s leading antivirus software, is issuing an alert to Valentine’s Day lovers, after spotting a wave of scams spreading worldwide before the love holiday. The company advises users to stay away from fake limousine offers and online “heart experts” who claim to heal troubled relationships. This type of scam spreads through spam and redirects users to phishing, fraud and malware-infected websites.
As men plan to spend 75 percent more than women for 2013 Valentine’s Day, according to a survey by CreditDonkey.com, scammers lure them with gift ideas. The bait that tricks men these days includes fake chocolate offers, diamond-like rings, perfumes, personalized gifts, heart-shaped jewelry and replica watches.
“Scammers have taken a shotgun approach to lovers on Valentine’s, with dating spam counting for almost 7 percent of all spam sent around the globe,” said Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi. “Valentine’s Day brings an increase of romance scams, so people should be careful to avoid fake dating websites, love giveaways and phony social media profiles. These all collect their personal details for impersonation, extortion and money muling.”
A fast spreading scam tricks victims to download Valentine’s Day wallpapers which redirect to fraudulent websites. Users are told they won an iPhone 5 and asked for personal details. In the name of Cupid, similar scams circulate on Facebook, too.
Valentine’s Day games and Android apps downloaded from unofficial marketplaces such as free love calculators may install adware and malware.
Britons should be especially careful with flower offers. Valentine’s Day is not only the busiest day of the year for UK florists, but also for fake “flower” scammers. One scam spreading in Brits’ inboxes lures them with romantic red roses. Another scam tricks users to buy perfumes from a bad reputation shopping site pretending to be British by using a “co.uk” web address.
Cyber-criminals also take advantage of Germans’ appetite for sending Valentine’s Day cards online. Through BlackHat SEO techniques, they are redirected to poisoned search results that may install Trojans on their devices.
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This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Ionut Raileanu, Bitdefender Spam Analyst.