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Valentine's Day themed scams spreading worldwide: Bitdefender

A lot of people may be getting into the Valentine's Day spirit, but Bitdefender recommends thinking twice before clicking on an online gift offer. The warning comes in the wake of a wave of scams spreading worldwide before the love holiday, with Valentine's Day themed spam redirecting users to phishing, fraud and malware-infected websites

Bitdefender chief security strategist, Catalin Cosoi, highlighted fake limousine offers and online "heart experts," typically claiming to heal troubled relationships, as some of the more popular scams.

Learn how smart CIOs are protecting customers from security breaches

"Scammers have taken a shotgun approach to lovers on Valentine's, with dating spam counting for almost seven percent of all spam sent around the globe," he said.

Cosoi also recommends keeping an eye out for fake dating websites, love giveaways and phony social media profiles.

"These all collect their personal details for impersonation, extortion and money muling," he said.

Scams often come in the form of online Valentine's Day cards, and Cosoi recommends caution when receiving surprise emails that are seemingly from secret admirers.

These emails are likely to redirect to "poisoned" search results that may install Trojans, which is what happened in Germany via BlackHat SEO techniques.

"Be careful of opening any attachments that might enable malicious software like spyware or key-loggers to be downloaded to computers, leaving them vulnerable to cyber criminals," Cosoi said.

Thrifty shopper

With a survey by CreditDonkey.com finding men plan to spend 75 percent more than women for Valentine's Day this year, it no surprise men are always on the lookout for gift ideas.

As such, offers for chocolate, diamond-like rings, perfumes, personalised gifts, heart-shaped jewellery and replica watches are some of the bait that currently tricking men.

Social networks such as Facebook are also not immune from the influence of Valentine's Day scams, with similar schemes floating around the social network. "Valentine's Day games and Android apps downloaded from unofficial marketplaces such as free love calculators may install adware and malware," Cosoi said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.


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