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Valentine's Day Scams

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Did you know that about 50% of all cards bought for Valentine's Day are bought in the week before the holiday?  Gift sales surge in that time as well, making Valentine's Day a busy time for procrastinators.  Hackers know this and are always ready to take advantage of it.

If you're scrambling to find a good deal on a last minute gift, an email advertising a dozen roses for $5 or sales on chocolates, jewelry or other popular gifts might sound like an awesome idea.  Hackers are very good at following trends and figuring out what people are looking for at certain times of the year, and Valentine's Day is a big one for them.

You might have noticed an increase in emails pushing Valentine's Day specials.  Some of them are legit, but many of them are not.  Clicking a link could take you to a compromised website and infect your computer with malware.  The same thing often happens with Valentine's Day e-cards.  If you're tempted to click a link, take a minute to give the email a thorough look.  First of all, look at the email address it's coming from, particularly the domain.  Does it look like a real email address the company it purports to be coming from would send?  Some email programs will show you a link preview if you hover your cursor over it.  Does the link's domain match the company the email says it's coming from?  Does the deal look too good to be true?  It probably is.

Another, more dastardly tactic is for identity thieves to set up fake profiles on dating websites.  The thief will spend time to develop something of a relationship with someone who's just looking for some companionship and get them to send money or spill personal information they can then use to steal their identities.  Traffic on dating websites increases around Valentine's Day, so be particularly careful about what you tell people you meet online around this time of year.