Scammers aren't slow, even on Valentine's Day!
In the rush of shopping it can be easy to make a costly mistake, especially when it comes to a gift for a loved one. When browsing for Valentine's Day bargains, be wary of suspicious-looking store offers or travel deals.
Socio-technical measures taken by cybercriminals are based primarily on two factors: current events or trends and human emotions. Fraudsters like to take advantage of e-commerce peak periods and resort to well-tested methods that still work. – As long as people are fooled by social engineering attacks, they will be used so often by cybercriminals – says Maciej Iwanicki, Business Development Manager at Fortinet.
The upcoming Valentine's Day is another time of the year when e-commerce website traffic increases. Additionally, there is a strong emotional factor at play here. Many people are ready to give something special to a loved one without considering the cost. According to data from the Mastercard Love Index published in 2021, spending by Poles on St. Valentine's Day increased by 388% between 2011 and 2020. Shopping is moving online – in the discussed period the number of gifts bought online increased as much as 17 times. We most often spend money on flowers and jewelry.
So, when looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, it's worth remembering that any suspicious-looking offer should be checked especially carefully. While shopping, you may come across fake online stores that mimic real e-commerce sites with great success. To avoid them, carefully check the seller's contact information and the website's web address (whether it uses letters or special characters in a way that imitates the original website address). Gift card scams are also becoming increasingly popular.
Fortinet specialists advise to be especially sensitive to phishing attempts during this time. All e-mails regarding Valentine's Day offers should be verified very carefully. Don't open suspicious-looking attachments or click on links embedded in messages. Buyers should remember that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is not.
A good practice in case you receive a message that casts doubt on the actual sender is to contact them by another route, such as. by phone. For example: if you receive an email with an offer to use a code that provides a substantial discount from an e-commerce store, it's worth calling the hotline and asking the consultant whether the store is really running such a campaign.
For the success of phishing campaigns, it is necessary to arouse in the recipient strong enough emotions to click on what the scammer expects without much thought. So it is always worth keeping in mind that on the Internet, especially when money is involved, it is most important to keep a cool head and distance and not to succumb to first impressions. It's also a good idea to make your loved ones aware of the most important rules for safe online shopping, so that they can spend this year's Valentine's Day happily and without unnecessary worries.