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Valentine Day Scams Online

From the Sun Sentinel newspaper’s consumer blog, Daniel Vasquez reports:

Daniel Vasquez: Three Valentine’s Day scams you should know about by: Daniel Vasquez February 13th, 2012 | 10:40 AM

Isn’t romance complicated enough without having to worry about scammers? Unfortunately, Florida officials are warning that fraudsters and other low-lifes are using V-Day as a way to take advantage of people online.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is warning residents of these three popular schemes:

e-Cards: Sure, sending an e-Card instead of an old-fashioned written card sounds convenient (if a bit un-romantic), but cyber-criminals are using fake e-Card sites to trick victims into providing personal information, such as an address, date of birth or credit card number, or to infect a victim’s computer with malware that can steal your ID or ruin your device.

Social Media and Chats: The bad guys are using “flirt-bots,” or malignant software applications, to simulate online chats on social media sites aimed at getting the victim to give up personal information. A red flag: The chat tries to take you away from your social mediate site to another. Other scammers will try to get to you by pretending to be a long, lost friend.

Shopping: Watch out for pop-ups, strange links and unsolicited email requests for personal information in order to complete an online order. If you like an advertisement from a company, look up the company and call directly so you know who you are dealing with, or type in the URL yourself. For more information about various romance scams, check out my recent column. If you think you are a victim of a romance scam, contact your local police. For additional help, call the Florida DBPR at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).

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