Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, making people rush to find that perfect gift for the person they love. This causes stores to sell out of product days before Valentine’s Day, leaving people panicked when they can’t find the perfect gift for their significant other. Disappointed that they couldn’t find a gift, they go onto their email to see that there is a good deal happening at a random Valentine’s Day store. They click on the link, make a purchase, and think that they will get their product the next day. However, what really happened is they fell for one of many Valentines’ Day phishing scams.
What are Valentine’s Day Phishing Scams?
A Valentines’ Day phishing scam is when someone clicks on a phishing link emailed or messaged to them, and they end up on a scam website unknowingly. This website is usually legit-looking and can fool anyone that purchases something from it. These scam websites have the ability to download malware onto your device without you knowing it.
Malware can scan your device for any personal and financial information to report back to the scammer. Also, if you fill out your personal and financial information on the website, scammers can access this as well to commit identity fraud and steal your money.
Types of Valentine’s Day Phishing Scams
Fake Floral Shops and Online Shopping Scams
Scammers send out emails to their victims, advertising too-good-to-be-true deals to lure their victims in. The victim clicks the link on the email, thinking it’s a legit advertisement, then scrolls through the fake website unsuspectingly. Once the victim finds a product they like, they add it to their cart and prepare to buy it.
Once they prepare to purchase the item, a form pops-up directing them to enter their personal information. They claim this information will be used to ship the item to them when in reality all the scammer wants to do with it is commit identity fraud.
Then, they ask victims to wire transfer, use a debit card, or a gift card to purchase the item they would like. In reality, wire transfers and gift card scams are untraceable. They know if their victims use this method of payment it will be nearly impossible for them to get their money back. They use these methods of payment to drain your bank account out of your hard-earned money.
Greeting Card Scams
Scammers send greeting cards to their victims, pretending to be a secret admirer or someone they are close to. They claim that the only way their victims can open the greeting card is if they click the link emailed to them. Once they click on the link, they are instructed to enter their personal information on the form to “verify who they are” before opening the greeting card.
The greeting card also claims that there is a gift on the way for them! All the victim needs to do is fill out their financial information to help pay a small shipping fee so that their gift can get shipped to them.
In reality, scammers use these forms and excuses to steal victims’ information. They can steal the victims’ identities and money with the little information the victims gave them on these websites.
Scammers send a link to their victims’ phone or email, claiming that they have a surprise package from their significant other they need to claim. Confused, the victim clicks on the link, and it directs them to a fake website that looks legit. On the website, it asks them to fill out their information in order to “verify their identity” so they can get their package.
The website also asks victims to fill out their financial information so that they can help pay a small shipping fee for their package. Once they enter this information, the website claims the package is shipped. However, there is no confirmation email confirming this shipment… because scammers are stealing your information and money instead.
How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Phishing Scams
- Avoid giving an unknown website or anyone online your personal and financial information
- Do your research on the website before making any purchases on it.
- Don’t click any unknown links on emails.
- Don’t use wire transfers or gift cards when making purchases on websites.
- Call your friend, family member, or significant other to confirm they sent the greeting card before opening it.
- Don’t open the greeting card if it says it’s from a “secret admirer”
- If you get a text or email claiming you need to claim your package, it’s a scam.
- Report any scam you have been a part of to the FTC.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of Valentine’s Day phishing scams.