Watch Out For Valentine’s Day Romance Scams



Valentines Day Phishing ScamUsers should be wary of online romance scams ahead of Valentine’s Day, according to Imogen Byers at ESET. While in the past these scams could often be thwarted by using reverse image search on the scammers’ profile photos, criminals can now use generative AI tools to create realistic photos of people who don’t exist.

"One of the most prevalent tactics used by scammers on dating apps is catfishing – creating fake profiles with the intent to deceive their match into thinking that they are somebody else,” Byers writes.

“These scammers often use stolen or stock photos and fabricated personal information to lure in unsuspecting victims. There are many websites that use AI image generation to create photos of real-looking people (who, as you may have guessed, don’t exist) that scammers can use to create a realistic persona online. The scammer would then use this persona to connect with and message unsuspecting profiles and filter out viable targets. Once they have determined if their pen pal is able to give them what they want, they will go to great lengths to build trust and mislead them into thinking that they are in a genuine relationship.”

Byers concludes that users should approach online relationships with a healthy sense of suspicion.

“In the early stages of a conversation, before you have got to know a little bit more about your match, don’t open or click on any links they send,” Byers says. “Even if it seems to be a harmless link to a raved-about restaurant you mention in your profile, scammers can be creative with their domain names to make the links seem even more tempting and authentic. Wait a while until you can be sure that you trust your match before exploring sharing links and exploring the realms of the internet together.”

KnowBe4 empowers your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

ESET has the story.


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