Customers With Disabilities

Internet Can Make Valentine’s Day Giving Easier, But Caution is Warranted

by Employee ‎02-10-2012 04:19 PM - edited ‎02-13-2012 10:42 AM

ValDay 3.jpgThere’s little doubt that using the Internet to gift shop, make dinner reservations or arrange flower and chocolate delivery has made looking for love a little easier leading up to Valentine’s Day.  Online dating services may even make it easier to find someone to shower with these gifts.


But, if you’re looking to sway your sweetheart via the world-wide web (chocolate is a staple for reason, mind you) , you should also be aware that online scammers are looking to romance your bank account and personal information at your expense.


Verizon’s security software partner McAfee is predicting that the lovers’ holiday themed email spam will quadruple worldwide as we get closer to Feb. 14thMcAfee cautions that clicking on messages promising great deals on gifts for the loved one or clicking on links in those messages could result in malware being downloaded on the user’s computer.  These dangerous links and malware are designed to compromise personal and financial information of those falling victim to them.


Scammers are using a technique called “snowshoe spamming,” in which they spread spam across multiple Internet addresses to evade consumers’ spam filters installed on computers.  In many cases, these scammers are using suspicious email marketing companies to send out the bulk messages.


Consumers also are being warned not to open so-called holiday e-cards from people they don’t know.  Clicking on a link in the phony card may also lead to a malware download to your personal computer.


Other McAfee warnings include:

  • Online dating scams in which the bad guys post phony profiles at online dating sites in hopes of tricking victims into disclosing personal information or giving them money;
  • Love-themed malware such as Valentine’s Day videos, wallpaper or love songs which, once downloaded onto personal computers, also infect those computers with information-stealing malware;
  • Phony gift websites that may show up when people do online searches for Valentine’s Day gifts.  The scammers try to trick you into giving them credit card numbers or other personal information they can then use to steal your money or your identify.

 ValDay 2.jpg

So how do you avoid ending up forlorn this Valentine’s Day?  McAfee offers these common sense tips:

  • Don’t open links in spam emails;
  • Don’t click on a link in an e-card from someone you don’t know;
  • Make sure an e-card is from a legitimate e-card provider by doing an online search for their website;
  • Stay away from suspicious online dating sites and beware of people you meet at legitimate sites who ask for financial or personal information;
  • Use safe search tools when browsing for gifts online.  For example, Verizon’s Internet Security Suite (VISS) software provides users with warnings about unsafe sites that come up on search results;
  • Use a comprehensive security software, such as VISS;
  • Shop with reputable online merchants with whom you have an established relationship.
  • And, of course, if an online Valentine’s Day special seems too good to be true, it probably is.


We’d be interested in hearing what you may be planning for your loved one on Valentine’s Day, especially if it means going online to find the right gift or greeting.


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