Beware of Valentine’s Day Phishing Attacks

Happy Valentine's Day Message

Cybercriminals will exploit any opportunity to employ social engineering strategies to fool you with a Phishing email.  Valentines Day is a prime example.  Scammers will use poetry, flowers, and other gifts to trick victims.  Some of the most common Valentine’s Day email scams are phony florists, phony Valentine’s Day electronic greeting cards, delivery scams and online dating scams. 

Here are 4 red flags to watch out for:

1) Don’t trust emails or advertisements from online florists or online gift retailers until you are sure that they are valid.  Double check where the email is coming from, and if it links to a website, look for clues as to whether that website is legitimate before you turn over your credit card information.  If it is a phishing attempt, your credit card information can end up in the hands of cyber criminals who may make purchases and use it for identity theft purposes.  Malicious software may also be uploaded to your computer without your knowledge. 

2) Don’t trust an online greeting card, especially if it does not indicate who sent it to you. Beware of any greeting card sent by “a secret admirer.”  Even if you recognize the name, confirm that it was really sent from that person before you click on the link and open the card.

3) Don’t trust special deliveriesBe wary of suspicious delivery email notifications for gift baskets or any other Valentine’s Day gift.  Also, avoid the email if it requests a small credit card charge because alcohol is part of the gift.

4) Don’t trust anyone who indicates he or she is in love with you and then wants to communicate with you right away on an email account outside of a dating site.  They also will probably claim to be working abroad, asking for your address and will use poor grammar, which is often a sign of a foreign romance scammer. Many romance scams originate in Eastern Europe.

As always….THINK before you click.

BSC offers Phishing Security Testing & Training Services.  If you would like to learn more, please reach out