Criminals ramp up phishing for Valentine’s Day

Holidays and special days can be great fun for everyone, but they can also be lucrative for scammers and cybercriminals, and that’s something at least one company has picked up on.

You might be having a hard time trying to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift (though we hope our guide has helped), but you’ll want to make sure you don’t incidentally give a gift to cybercriminals for Valentine’s Day.

While you might love your partner, scammers love Valentine’s Day because it gives them yet another outlet to try and pinch as much money as they can using the internet.

In fact, Kaspersky Lab has this week revealed findings showing fake websites and phishing attempts ramped up in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, with European and South American nations taking the lead on these issues.

Kaspersky hasn’t quite said where Australia sits in the grand scheme of things, but did find that scammers are exploiting through “pre-order gift items” and orders for drugs designed to improve sexual performance, with emails and websites for these things ending up snagging bank details.

“It is only natural to want to spoil and celebrate St. Valentines Day with your loved one. However many people get carried away with their emotions, excitement and love which believe it or not, could result in falling for a phishing attack based on our research,” said Noushin Shabab. Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

“We should always be cautious when surfing the web even if it’s as simple as buying flowers and chocolates,” she said.

While it can be hard to work out which links are the right ones, Kaspersky Lab advises that it’s worth being aware of emails or messages looking for immediate action, or asking for personal information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Paying attention to emails suggesting a “one time only” offer is also important, as are emails from people and companies you don’t know.

Ultimately, if you’re not sure who the person or company is that is sending the email and you still want to buy something, consider Googling it instead, using the power of internet search instead of trusting a random email. Alternatively, if you’re unsure about buying any services from places you don’t know, consider loading up a prepaid Visa card and using those details to purchase something.

Remember that when you take precautions with unusual situations, there’s a chance you won’t get caught out in anything severe. On the internet (and just like in real life), there’s always someone after your money, and so being on guard against things that seem too good to be true can help protect you in the end.

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