The official Day of Love has arrived, so many of us will receive traditional anonymous Valentines – most of them in electronic form nowadays. Usually it doesn’t take a genius to guess the author, but some come as a surprise and the admirer is unknown. Your curiosity is quite understandable in this case, but do not let it reduce your vigilance – instead of romance, such letters typically lead to malware or real money loss.
Tatyana Kulikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab advises: “To avoid disappointment, follow these safety rules: do not visit unknown dating sites, especially those advertised in spam, do not open emails from unknown senders and do not reply to emails if they seem suspicious.”
Here are some examples of traps to watch out for today:
- “Check out my photos”. Typical trap for the curious people Is an intriguing letter admitting someone’s crush on you. It’s accompanied by a link to some photos or even saucy video. Of course if you click on that link, you will be taken to some malicious site which either tries to exploit software vulnerability or suggests you “update video codec” to watch the video. In both cases your computer will be infected with malware. A small variation of this scenario is an email mimicking notification from popular dating site. Except for the letter design, the other details are the same.
- “Confirm your age”. To loosen the purse strings of unsuspecting romance seekers , cyber criminals make fake dating sites. If the visitor wants to view a detailed profile of some nice person, he/she will be required to “confirm that he or she is an adult”. It typically takes one text message to confirm the age, but it costs up to $12. More importantly, nothing happens then, as the site is fake.
- “Small financial help”. Quite old, but still effective, this scam comes as a letter from “beauty in trouble” – such “ladies” typically live in Nigeria or Russia. If someone replied to this letter (initially sent via mass mailing), swindlers start a dialog with the victim and gradually try to establish a virtual relationship. At some stage, lovers decide to meet in real life, but it turns out that beauty desperately needs money. Nigerian ladies require legal support to leave the country, Russians just need ticket and maybe a visa. Of course swindlers instantly disappear just after receiving the money.