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Valentine's Day Scams

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. It's a day for love, for gifts of flowers and chocolate from admirers, and — using past years as an example — malware! As February 14 approaches, so does the season of Valentine's-related scams. Malware authors are notorious for exploiting various worldwide events and holidays, like Valentine's Day, to target unsuspecting computer users with their malicious threats.

As this is one of the most popular days to receive e-mail and cards, here's a basic list of “do's and don'ts” to keep in mind in terms of e-mail attachments and links — a favorite means employed by the bad guys to try to get in to your system.

  • Do be wary of any Valentine's Day e-cards, news and special offers that you receive through your inbox — remember that you need to be on the lookout for phishing and spam messages that are designed to look legitimate, and ultimately infect your computer with malware or get you to divulge sensitive personal information through social engineering tactics.
  • Don't open unsolicited e-mail or click on any links in messages unless you know where it came from, and what the message contains. Don't let your curiosity put you at risk; no matter how tempting a note from your ‘secret admirer’ may be, there's a great likelihood that in reality it's none other than a cyber scammer!
  • Do trust your instincts and investigate the message if something seems suspicious. Many e-card service providers, such as Hallmark, have helpful information on their websites that you can you use to check the validity of electronic greetings. Take a look at these types of tips before opening e-mail attachments or clicking URL's within a message.
  • Do run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware — such as Ad-Aware Pro or Ad-Aware Total Security.

From all of us at Lavasoft, Happy Valentine's Day — and be smart and safe out there as the holiday approaches!

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