Don't Fall for Fake Valentine's Day Messages

Exchanging Valentine's Day cards and gifts is a fun tradition...unless the message is really an attempt to trick you into buying a non-existent product or visit a malicious website. Here are a few Valentine's Day scams we expect to see this year:

E-cards. Everyone likes to receive thoughtful cards, especially if we think it may be from someone we love. So when a Valentines e-card appears in your in box, scammers are betting that you'll click on it. But if you are directed to a Valentines card site that asks you to update your Flash player or perform some other operation, don't do it! Chances are you'll be installing a virus or Trojan horse on your computer rather than updating a necessary program. Here's a rule to remember when it comes to e-cards: If the email message does not tell you who sent the e-card, don't open it.

Flowers, Jewelry, Chocolates. The most popular Valentine's Day gifts are also popular subject lines for spammers offering amazing deals for online buyers. So when you see offers for long-stemmed roses, gold bracelets, or handmade chocolates, take a step back and consider if the deal seems too good to be true. We recommend purchasing these items from one of the well-known brands or a local shop, rather than risking your money and personal information.

Your Delivery Is Being Held. This email message informs you that a delivery to your address is being held and includes a link that directs you to a website. Once you arrive at the site, it requests that you verify your credit card or some other piece of personal information before the delivery can be released. If you happen to be waiting for a delivery, as many people are around Valentine's Day, you may consider providing the information. Remember: never provide personal information online unless you are certain you are on a trusted site. When in doubt, call the seller before providing any information.

The bottom line for staying safe online this Valentine's Day is to be cautious when opening email from unknown sources. Don't be fooled into clicking on special message from a secret admirers or falling for unbelievable offers.

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