Valentine’s day will soon be here, for some it’s a day for celebrating the love they share, for others it marks a day of hope in the search for that special someone. It’s estimated that in the UK alone last year over £980 million were spent by consumers on Valentine’s cards and gifts, that figure is set to rise again this year. It’s not only big business for retailers, for cyber criminals it is yet another celebratory date in the calendar which they seek to exploit. Valentine’s Day scams are by no means a new phenomena, the 2000 “I Love You” worm went on to infect 50 million users.
So whilst you’re wearing your rose-tinted glasses searching for that perfect gift for your loved one or whether you are searching for that special someone here’s our top tips to help you avoid getting caught up in Valentine’s Day scams.
Check you have an effective anti-virus and anti-malware software installed. Run checks regularly to ensure you have the latest updates, these updates are vital in ensuring you are protected against the newest threats out there. N.B If you suddenly start receiving unusual pop-ups or messages, it’s quite likely that your computer has become infected.
Shopping / Buying online
Buy online from sites that offer secure transactions. Look for the padlock symbol in the URL bar to ensure all data entered on that page is encrypted.
Never use shared/public computers or unsecured wi-fi connections to make purchases or for anything that requires you to enter personal details or passwords.
Be wary of too good to be true offers – there is almost always a catch.
Emails / Social Media Messages
Be wary of receiving emails or files that claim to be Valentine greeting cards or messages. Never download or run any attached files from unknown sources.
Don’t click on links contained in emails. Always type in the URL and go directly to the website yourself.
Be careful when clicking on notifications or opening any messages from unknown senders on social networking sites.