Three Valentine’s Day Scams to Watch For

As Valentine’s Day nears CyberScout is sharing a list of common romance scams for consumers to watch out for all year long.

Equally as important, CyberScout, an identity theft resolution, data defense and employee benefits services firm, encourages businesses to take proactive steps to defend themselves against online activity by their employees that could increase their risk for cybercrimes.

Consumer Scams:

Flower Delivery Scams – Be aware of emails or phone calls claiming that a florist needs more information for a flower delivery from a secret admirer. Criminals are looking to capture personal and financial information for fraud and identity theft.

Fake eCards – Sending and receiving cards in this fashion is quick and convenient, but criminals are preying on consumers by sending emails that include suspicious links that go to copycat websites similar to popular greeting card companies. By clicking on suspicious links, criminals can gain access to the information and systems available on the individual’s computer.

Catfishing – Online dating is a popular way to meet the perfect match. However, because people can pretend to be someone else online, scammers set up fake profiles with online dating services and develop relationships with the sole purpose of accessing personal and financial information, or money.

There are more well-known variations of catfishing including “The Soldier” (a criminal claims to be a servicemember), “The Hard Come-on” (a criminal quickly professes love and persuades a victim to engage on a different online platform allowing the criminal to gain access to victim’s information) and “The Mule” (a criminal convinces a victim to receive and ship a package with unknown contents or travel with the package to another country resulting in the victim potentially being arrested for trafficking stolen goods or drugs).

Business Defenses:

Limit Personal Sites to Personal Devices – Firewalls can restrict employee access to social media, dating sites and personal email services.

With limited exceptions, employees do not need to access social media or non-business related websites, such as dating sites, from their work devices. Block corporate-owned computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices from downloading these websites and apps.

Put Limits on Personal Devices – Require BYO devices to be updated and maintain good password hygiene.

Do not allow personal devices that are not part of a BYO program to access office WiFi or systems. Do not allow removable media that has been connected to a personal device to be connected to an office system.

Back Ups are Better than Chocolate! – When employees are hacked on their personal or business devices, their employer can become more vulnerable to cyberattacks including ransomware. Businesses that regularly back up data are better prepared to recover quickly from ransom attempts.

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