Careful, these online scams could lead to heartbreak on Valentine’s Day
It’s the week of love and, to celebrate, Kaspersky offered to gift our Tech Girl community with something special. I’ll explain in the post. But for full disclosure, this was not sponsored, no money changed hands – I sometimes do content like this when I have a chance to give back to you in the form of prizes and the like.
I also think this information is really useful. Valentine’s Day, as commercial as it may seem, is still a fun celebration many get involved in, either to celebrate loved ones, significant others and win over the hearts of those we’re crushing on. It’s a day for flowers and yummy choccies, but while you’re trying to win the affection of that special someone, don’t let cybercriminals “win” your data. Phishing is still one of the most popular and easiest techniques to exploit online users – especially during times of increased online buying, like Valentine’s – as, if successful, it gives access a user’s passwords, credit card numbers and even bank details. Last year, Kaspersky experts detected a sharp increase in phishing activities, where ‘various romantic goods’ where offered by cybercriminals on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day. So be cautious – even if it’s just buying flowers for your loved one.
I’ve got some tips from Kaspersky to ensure you’re safe during the week of love and I’m also giving away a licence code to Kaspersky’s adaptive solution called Kaspersky Security Cloud – which considers each user’s individuality and their security needs, and then adapts itself to their personal requirements. Head over to my Facebook page for more details and to enter the competition.
Even if you don’t win the Kaspersky Security Cloud, here are some tips to help you have a safer shopping experience online. These will help make sure Valentine’s day stays a day to celebrate – and not data loss. They’re also useful during all the other months of the year too!
Don’t be fooled by ‘love letters’
If you want to take your Valentine’s Day online this year, given the options for eGifts and eCards, you need to be weary of the malicious schemes that exist. Be vocal about the gifts you intend to give to your other half, so they aren’t fooled into opening a malicious ‘Love Letter’ attachment or clicking on a mischievous link in their inbox. If you are sending something online, let the recipient know so that they can be on the lookout for your real, secure gift, and avoid anything else that might come their way.
Use HTTPS sites
Make sure you check the security certificates of the sites you’re visiting. Only browse sites that use HTTPS in their URL (as opposed to HTTP) – as this ensures a secured connection. Also note the authenticity of each site before you make any purchases, remain aware of the warning signs of fraudulent sites, like misspelled words and incorrect URLs.
Be prepared for phishing attempts
Phishers often exploit emotions – including those connected with relationships and love. Signs that there could be phishers aiming to exploit your romantic expectations include messages that demand immediate action, ask for vast amounts of very personal and seemingly irrelevant information, or which simply sound too good to be true.
Also, pay extra attention to emails promising ‘one time only’ offers or various goods for free. If emails come from people or organisations you don’t know or have suspicious or unusual addresses think twice before opening.
I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.