Cyber criminals love Valentine`s Day

Last Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 17:00

New Delhi: Its not just retailers and
hoteliers that are cashing in on the Valentine`s Day`s fever,
but also cyber criminals, who are looking at new ways to spam
netizens and steal personal information like credit card
details, warn experts.

Be it offering great deals on flowers and dinners, or
dating sites offering opportunity to meet singles,
cyber criminals are actively looking at luring net surfers into
divulging personal information and extracting money.

"We always warn people that if there is a deal, which is
too good to be true, maybe it isn`t. There is always an
increased activity around holidays and such events.

Valentine`s Day is one of these days, when people receive spam
mails offering great deals of food, flowers, chocolates,
gifts, etc," McAfee Product Manager Vinoo Thomas said.

It is these deals that the user needs to be careful
about, he added.

The user receives a spam mail offering a deal, which when
clicked upon, directs the user to a malicious website.

"Not only does the person not get the product/service,
their personal details like credit card information is also
leaked," he said.

The week from February 7 to 14 is celebrated as
Valentine`s Week and terms like `Propose Day`, `Chocolate day`
and `Rose Day` are most searched words online.

According to a report, the search word `Valentine`
started off only as a 20 per cent interest on February 3 in
India which jumped to 100 per cent on February 7.

"This shows how people today are actively using Internet
to search for Valentine`s Day related information and that
makes it a lucrative case for cybercriminals," Thomas said.

Another activity seen, especially during Valentine`s Day
is creation of fake profiles and malicious dating sites.

"These sites offer people a chance to go on a date. There
is a large number of people who actually fall prey to sending
money to these people without realising that its actually a
scam," he said.

He added that educating people becomes important as new
users are coming to the online world each day and they do not
realise that such "deals" are not real.

Also, with real discounts on online shopping websites and social networking websites introducing contests and other attractions for the day doing the rounds, people need to be more careful in separating between the scam and the real deal.

"It is advised that users inspect such links closely. It
is typical for spammers to use prominent events/brands such as Reader`s Digest, or enticing contests to cloak their malicious schemes," Suchita Vishnoi, Head - Marketing, Trend Micro (India & SAARC) said.

Users should first verify with trusted sources about the existence of these promos to avoid becoming victims of such ruse.

Contacting the organisation purportedly behind the
message by other means such as actual on-site visitation or a
call on their hotline should also work as a way to verify if
the message itself is in fact true, Vishnoi said.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 17:00

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