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Lovers urged to watch out for Valentine’s Day scams

Fake limo offers and online `heart expert’ scams doing the rounds.

Online scammers and cyber criminals have turned their attention to Valentine’s Day with a number of traps set for 14 February.

Some of the scams include fake limousine offers delivered via email campaigns and malicious Valentine’s Day game smartphone apps on unofficial Android marketplaces which may install malware on the person’s phone.

Fake bushfire appeal emails flagged: ACCC

Security threats explained: Social engineering

Malware able to record phone conversations looming: BitDefender

Bitdefender chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi said scammers have taken a “shotgun approach” to Valentine’s Day with dating spam accounting for almost 7 per cent of the global spam monitored by his researchers.

“In Australia, lovebirds should be wary of online Valentine’s Day cards, especially surprise emails that are labelled from secret admirers,” he said in a statement.

“Through BlackHat search engine optimisation [SEO] techniques, they are redirected to poisoned search results that may install Trojans on their devices.”

Cosoi added that Australians must be careful of opening any attachments that might enable malicious software like spyware or key-loggers to be downloaded to computers, leaving them vulnerable to cyber-criminals.

The company is also advising couples to be wary of so-called online `heart experts’ who claim to heal troubled relationships. According to Bitdefender, this type of scam spreads through email spam and redirects users to phishing, fraud and malware-infected websites.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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More about: ACCC, BitDefender
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