Cruel hearts: scams increase for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and the con artists of the world are looking for more ways to endear themselves to your heart, or at least the backdoor of your computer.

Lurkers, scammers, and the cruel people out there interested in taking advantage of any trust you have on the world wide web are this year turning to fake offers online, with Symantec’s experts noticing that spam messages have increased, many of which aim to lure you in with discounts on jewellery, gifts, and offers for inexpensive places to dine at.

Unsurprisingly, there are no discounts, no freebies, and no special e-cards, but all of these can contain a zip file that, when opened, downloads a form of malware onto your computer and lets attackers invade your computer, resulting in a type of Valentine’s Day you probably won’t be hoping for, or expecting, to say the least.

“The types of attacks we see around Valentine’s Day are attachments which act to download malware on a user’s computer, giving a remote attacker access to a compromised computer, or malicious links to fake Valentine’s offers which will ask for personal information to try to acquire a user’s personal and financial information,” said Sean Kopelke, Symantec’s Director of Specialist Solutions in the Pacific Region.

“The best way to avoid falling victim to scams is to remain cautious when handling unsolicited or unexpected email and to update anti-spam signatures regularly.”

As with most security warnings, it’s best to always be on the lookout, and to check the URL of a website to see if it checks out.

While it might look familiar, scammers generally can’t duplicate the exact brand or URL, so look for spelling errors and subdomains, such as Just because it has a name you know in the first section, doesn’t mean it belongs to that company.

And of course, the oldest logic there is tends to be the best: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so stay alert, and don’t get fooled.

Send a Valentine's Day card from this site and you'll probably end up with an invaded computer.