Valentine’s Day offers fraudsters a great cover for their illegal schemes. Protect your heart and your wallet, watch out for these commons scams during the month of love.
Dating websites unsurprisingly experience uplift in activity during the cold winter months especially leading up to the ‘most romantic day of the year’. There have already been reports in Warwickshire of fraudsters pocketing £500,000 in 12 months from those lonely and looking for love. Dept. Chief Inspector Sean Paley from the Warwickshire police gives a word of caution ‘Online dating should be a bit like driving a car, before you go forwards make sure your seatbelt is on.’ There are even criminal gangs specifically set up to target lonely hearts into believing they have met the love of their life only to gain their trust and sweet talk them into obtaining money out of them or personal information.
- Love giveaways
They say curiosity killed the cat but don’t let it make your Valentine’s Day a buzzkill too. Avoid the temptation of clicking on emails or social media ads advertising special offer Valentine’s gifts or getaways at unmissable and too good to be true prices, you’ll get more than you bargained for! These links could direct you to third-party sites that unleash malware into your computer jeopardising your personal information. Hover over the link to check if the URL is legitimate and check for typos if it’s posing as a well-known retailer. Be sceptical of such emails unless you are sure it’s from a company you’ve previously done business with who genuinely you’re your email address.
- Bogus e-cards
Major holidays and occasions pose a popular time for electronic e-cards which unforgiving love rats will be jumping onto during Valentine’s Day for another chance to scam the innocent. Malware is again fraudster’s top pick of data scams, so unless you’re certain of an e-card don’t click links or download any software it might advise you to.
- Phony flowers
With such busy lifestyles it’s no surprise many people go online to order flowers for convenience and naturally florists are busiest during the V-day period. Scammers are already onto this as they advertise themselves posing as local florists to either steal your data or take your money, both resulting in disappearing bouquets, never delivered to your loved one. Or there have been cases of being over charged where the wrong flowers are delivered or they are wilted.
- Fake social media profiles
You can’t believe it a gorgeous model just sent you a friend request! But you don’t remember ever meeting them, oh well doesn’t hurt to accept them it is the month of love after all right? Much like catphishing friend requests from fake profiles are a type of social engineering used to capture confidential information. Consider how much personal information is accessible on your social networks profiles, this could be a vault of gold for an identity thief whose friend request you have just accepted.