TIM DREW: Beware of Valentine’s Day cyber scammers

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

Valentine’s Day is almost here and you can be sure that cyber scammers will be seeking to take advantage of it.

At this time of year, three per cent of all spam emails contains the word ‘Valentines’.

Scams include emails that link to a supposed online greeting card or Valentine’s Day website that attempts to download malware onto your PC.

One website shows a number of heart icons and invites victims to click one for a message – that click triggers the download.

If you get a Valentine’s Day email from someone you don’t know, don’t follow the link. If you do know the sender, telephone him or her to check that the message was genuine.

Beware of phishing tactics such as instant messages inviting you to become involved in a romantic online chat.

The ‘flirt-bot’, an automated chat program that works with instant messaging sites, tries to get victims to provide details about themselves, then takes them to a website page that requests a credit card number as proof that the person is over 18.

Another phishing trick comes as an email warning that the gift or flowers you ordered cannot be delivered because of a problem with your credit card.

It then directs you to a spoof site where you have to re-enter your credit card details.

Some of these emails end up in the inboxes of people who really did order gifts or flowers online, so don’t be fooled into thinking the message is real.

If you do order gifts or flowers online or by phone, buy from a reputable retailer or check that it is genuine, because some florists may be no more than a marketing company who takes a cut before passing on your order to a genuine flower seller, while others just take the money and run.

• The Tarring and Gaisford Community Forum meets at West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring on Tuesday (February 14) at 7pm.

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