Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. This is a very important day to many people including scammers and identity thieves who always manage to find an opportunity in whatever is current or popular to scam you out of your money. There are many Valentine’s day scams, but the most prevalent are phony florists, online dating scams, phony Valentine’s day electronic greeting cards and delivery scams.
Scammers set up phony florist websites or send you an email purporting to be from a local florist with a great deal you merely have to click on in order to save a great deal of money on flowers.
Online dating scams are plentiful with most revolving around scammers quickly professing true love for you and then asking for money.
Electronic greeting cards are a great way to send a Valentine’s day card at the last minute when you forget to get one ahead of time, but phony electronic greeting cards can be filled with malware and if you click on the link to open the card, you will infect your computer or other electronic device with malware that will steal your personal information and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
A common delivery scam operating on Valentine’s day involves a delivery of a gift basket of wine and flowers to you, however the person delivering the gift basket requests a small payment, generally five dollars or less, as a delivery fee because alcohol is being delivered. The person delivering the basket will only accept a credit card as payment. When you turn over your credit card, the scammer then takes down the information and runs up charges on your credit card.
Never trust an online florist or other retailer until you have checked them out to make sure that they are legitimate. Otherwise, you might be turning over your credit card information to a scammer. It is also important to remember, as I constantly warn you, that you can never be confident when you receive an email, particularly one with a link in it or an attachment to download, if the person sending you the email is who they claim to be. Clicking on links sent by scammers can download keystroke logging malware on to your computer or other electronic device that will, in turn, enable the identity thief to steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft. Always confirm the legitimacy of an email or text message before clicking on links contained in the message.
As for online dating scams, of course you should be wary of anyone who immediately indicates he or she is in love with you and then asks for money. Some other telltale signs of an online romance scam include wanting to communicate with you right away on an email account outside of the dating site, claiming to be working abroad, asking for your address and poor grammar which is often a sign of a foreign romance scammer. Many romance scams originate in Eastern Europe.
Be skeptical of any online greeting card, particularly if it does not indicate from whom it is being sent. Be very wary of a card sent by “an admirer.” Even if you recognize the name of the sender, confirm that it was really sent from that person before you click on the link and open the card. It could be filled with malware.
In regard to the delivery scam, there is no special delivery charge for alcohol so if someone requires a payment for such a delivery and on top of that won’t accept cash, merely decline the gift.
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