With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many single people return to thoughts of finding love online. But while your head is in the online clouds, you should know – and sorry to sound like a parent – that cyberscammers may be there with you looking to take advantage of your vulnerable heart.
To help you stay safe on Valentine’s Day and year-round, here is a look at some of the top romance scams and threats, followed by safety tips in honor of your heart:
1) Online Dating Scams—Millions of people use online dating sites to broaden their networks and meet potential mates, but not everyone on these sites are sincere—some are scammers hoping to lure you in with false affection, with the goal of gaining your trust, and eventually, your money.
2) Love Exploits—These threats have you looking for love in all the wrong places—like dangerous websites designed to steal your information. One recent example of this is the Koobface worm, which targeted Match.com users by sending messages that appeared to be from other users, inviting them to look at photos and videos on a Match.com look-a-like site. When users tried to log in to the malicious site, it recorded their usernames and passwords and attempted to install a Trojan.
3) Valentine’s Day Spam & eCards–Scammers know that the holidays are the perfect time to send out themed messages and eCards, knowing they will grab your attention. Spam messages with subject lines such as “The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift” may contain a link to a dangerous website that asks for personal information. And, a message that appears to be an eCard from a loved one could actually download malware on your machine when you click on the link, leaving you with an infection, rather than affection.
In Honor of Your Heart – How To Stay Safe
- When signing up for online dating, go with a well-known dating site and get referrals from friends on which sites they use
- Design your dating profile with care—think about the image you want to project and NEVER, under any circumstance, post personal information, such as your full name, address and phone number
- Vet potential dates by checking to see that their profile information matches other online information, such as their LinkedIn or Spokeo profile
- If a potential date asks you for a loan or any financial information, immediately report them to the dating site
- NEVER EVER click on links in emails or eCards from people you do not know – if you don’t trust it, DO NOT click it
- To help protect you from malware, use a comprehensive security software, such as McAfee Total Protection, and keep it up-to-date
McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information and access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers work through the process of resolving identity theft issues. For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
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