Scamming is in the air this Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 15, 2013

In the world of espionage, a ‘honey trap’ traditionally involves a seductive encounter designed to coax information out of an agent, or to compromise him in his work.

However, virtual "honey trap" is not uncommon on the World Wide Web. Numerous scammers, marriage fraudsters and other shadowy characters are out to manipulate the natural human desire to find a partner. 

“Scammers and cyber criminals use holidays and special days, such as Valentine’s Day, as a way to target victims,” explained Wayne Kirby, Product Specialist, Kaspersky Lab ANZ. “They know people will be buying flowers, ordering gifts, and even looking for dates online, so they set traps for people looking for love on Valentine’s Day.”

 Some of the top scams to look out for this Valentine’s Day include: · Online dating scams: Online dating sites have long occupied their niche on the Internet. There are millions of users registered on major dating, which makes it attractive to fraudsters. Spam emails inviting the reader "to meet a nice young girl" or just "spend a night" have become quite common, but they are in no way related to the major dating portals. By clicking the links in these emails the user runs the risk of infecting his computer with malware which is usually downloaded instead of the promised photos · Adult site invitations: Phishing attacks are yet another threat. 

For example, some Internet users have recently started receiving mails inviting them to “adult sites” supposedly connected with a social network. To access this site, users had to enter their login and password. All these sites turned out to be phishing – the scammers used them as bait to access their social media accounts. In addition, some of these bogus sites also asked for a phone number, potentially sparking a torrent of mobile spam. ·

Grooming: A developing trend on dating sites are groomers that spend the time building a trusting relationship with multiple victims to gather as much information about a contact. These relationships would be initiated on a dating site and grown over all areas of communication such as email, postal, instant messengers & social networking sites.

The Groomer will take their time, weeks, months to develop these relationships and then strike in dramatic ways. Once such recent event involved an Australian women who lost some $500,000 The Internet offers ample opportunities for communication. However, it is not always a safe place to search for romance. 

The best way to avoid the numerous honey traps on the Internet is to follow basic Internet safety rules: 
1. Do not visit unknown dating sites, especially those advertised in spam 
2.Do not open emails from unknown senders
3. Do not reply to emails if they seem suspicious 
4. Do not trust excessively generous or doubtful offers even if they are made by a pretty girl or a handsome man
 5. Use reliable security solutions to protect your computer
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