During this Valentine’s season, eScan, one of the leading Anti-Virus and Content Security Solution providers, warns about some of the most common online scams including Fake flowers, dating profiles, romantic greeting cards and much more hitting the internet that can turn to heartbreak for many.
How could this happen?
Amongst the most common scams is a phony florist that promises a deal, however the flowers are never delivered. Many times customers order for bouquets online and then receive the one that does not match with their order. Same is the case with chocolates, valentine’s special gifts, etc.
Special discount advertisements are another form of online scams that lurk on social media and your inbox. These malicious links once clicked, can get hold of your computer, your personal information, or could contain a virus on your computer as well that may crash your system.
During Valentine’s season, fake dating profiles are intentionally set up to lure people and their money. They often claim to be travelling or working overseas. Through these profiles, scammers try to connect and play emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details. Once you entertain the scammer, strong emotions are expressed for you in a relatively short period of time. They may suggest you take the relationship forward by connecting via phone, email or instant messaging.
At times, these scammers even go to an extent of sharing personal information and even sending you gifts in order to gain your trust and interest. Once they are successful in building your trust and make it seem like the romance of a lifetime, they will ask you for money or your banking / credit card details. They will pretend to need these for various reasons such as visas, medical emergencies, or to repay some business loss. Researchers say that every age group and demographic is at risk with such scams.
How to avoid this?
Below are a few golden rules as preventive steps suggested by eScan that may save you from being victim of such scams:
- Be it gifts, Flowers or chocolates, ensure that you are ordering from a legitimate site and read the reviews.
- Do read all the terms and conditions of any offer carefully that claim of free or very cheap offers as they might have some hidden costs.
- If you are into an online relationship without meeting face-to-face with that person and the person asks you for money, then there is a possibility that you are trapped in a scam. Think again about it, keeping aside the emotional aspect from your decision making, no matter how caring, loving or persistent the other person seem.
- In case you look forward to meet someone with whom you share online relationship, make sure your family and friends are aware of it.
- Never send money to someone you have only recently met online or have never met in person. Moreover, avoid up-front payment via money order, wire transfer or international fund transfer for a stranger.
- Never share your credit card / online account details with anyone in an email.
- In case you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, immediately contact your bank.
- Never get involved in money laundering as it is a criminal offence.
- Avoid sharing too much of your personal information on social network sites. You never know, scammers can use this information and your photographs to create a fake identity or even target you with a scam.
- Do not call the telephone number that you receive in a spam email or SMS. Never reply to a spam email or SMS (even to unsubscribe).
- Be cautious while opening emails received from unknown sources.
- Never save or open attachments which seem to suspicious.
- Use reliable Anti-virus software and ensure to update it regularly.