(WSPA) – As people give roses and chocolates to loved ones this Valentine’s Day, a warning, your generosity is something scammers love to exploit this time of year.
In fact, a cyber security firm finds a strong correlation between Valentine’s Day and malicious cyber activity.
We rundown the latest Valentine’s scams in this 7News Consumer Watch.
Check Point Software Technologies just concluded a two-year study that found a spike in malware threats during this season of love.
“What we’re seeing is in the month of February there’s a 200% increase in the amount of malware associated with the word Valentine. And there’s a 500% increase in the month of February with the word chocolate,” said Kierk Sanderlin, the head of security and engineering at Check Point.
He says hackers are laying traps for unsuspected buyers, hoping they click on malicious links and bogus adds that infect their device.
Leigh Henderson in Spartanburg says she’s noticed how flashy some Valentine’s adds can be, and she doesn’t always trust them.
“You don’t know what the links are that you’re going to get taken to. But if you know there is a legitimate place to purchase that and you go striaght to them, then you don’t have to worry about it,” she said.
That’s why she bought her gift locally at Edible Arrangements in Spartanburg.
Owner Diana King says each year they deal with their own type of Valentine’s fraud, stolen credit cards used for online purchases. King says apps that that notify consumers with every card purchase have helped saved the day.
“They call us right away and say ‘hey I found a charge on my account, I haven’t ordered with you,’ and we are extremely grateful because it’s the local business owner who pays for that,” said King.
Check Point says this time of year there’s also plenty of scams that victimize the lonely. Sanderlin says they uncovered a flattering “email campaign” asking to share photos which turned out to download malware.
Check Point says most people don’t have the proper security to prevent the malware from running on their systems. In many cases they don’t even know they’re infected, though one clue may be pop up adds.
If you think you your computer or device may be infected, the best way to remove malware is take it to an expert.