Valentine’s day online scams – how to take the ‘love’ out of lovers day

5 online scams to avoid this Valentine’s Day

Oh no .. it’s here again - that dreaded day where everything turns pink and restaurant owners are rubbing their hands with glee as prices of roses rise three-fold.

Luckily, at least for us men, Valentine’s Day gifts are a lot harder to get wrong than a birthday gift. Or are they? With the price of love on the rise, we are always looking for a killer gift without a killer price tag. Our partners may suspect but wisely say nothing. Criminals however know we are suckers for a bargain and are out there in force, loving the business that we bring them.

So a word from the wise, here are some of the current internet scams designed to lure-in star crossed lovers on the prowl for a gift online:
1. Special offers for that unmissable Valentine’s day gift

Each year, there are some new “must have” Valentine gifts. Cyber criminals know what they are as well as we do. If you are loved up and planning something rash, beware of emails for engagement rings at too good to be true prices because not only will you not get what you paid for online, your computer will also be infected with malware and your identity swiped.  Try explaining that to the prospective spouse when your joint credit card is declined at the supermarket too.
2. The luxury watch scam

In the same vein as the gift scam is the luxury watch scam - which despite being with us all year round, really comes out in force on Valentine’s Day. Legitimate sounding domain names would have been purchased by criminals, housing impressive looking websites that offer superb discounts. These sites will swipe your credit card details and criminals will use them presumably to buy a legitimate luxury watch for their own partner. Criminals can fall in love too!
3. The gift card scam

If you find yourself at a loss for ideas, the answer is simple - buy your loved one a gift card from a well known retailer, or from an unknown website! Often this scam is perpetrated via social media networks using banner ads or posts on the most popular platforms.
4. The flower scam

Every man knows that you cannot escape Valentine’s Day without paying someone to kill a shrub or two. Valentine’s Day is to roses what Thanksgiving is to turkeys. Criminals love flowers so much that they cannot bear the idea that they will be murdered en-mass.

Therefore the flower loving criminal activists try to give the roses a chance to escape by setting up fake florists websites complete with fake logos such as an Inteflora emblem and fake pictures of real flowers,  allowing the rose hungry populous to pay for the privilege of parting with their payment details and not sending them any flowers.
And finally …
5. The e-card from your lover scam

We all love to be ‘loved’, but beware of inbound Valentine’s Day e-cards from an unknown admirer with an email subject such as “your lover sent you an e-card!”. Often these emails contain a cute picture, a charming message in broken English, and a whole lotta malware – sent with love from the cyber criminals.
But please don’t use the excuse that all your attempts to purchase something for your loved one(s) were thwarted by the effects of online scammers. Our partners may not be as savvy in the online world as us, but they wouldn’t want to be called stupid either.

Written by Andy Churley, Marketing Director, NetNames
14 February 2013