3 Cybersecurity Tips to Avoid being Catfished on Valentine’s Day

3 Cybersecurity Tips to Avoid being Catfished on Valentine’s Day

Despite the fact Valentine’s Day is a day of love and romance that does not mean cybercriminals have taken the day off. Instead, they are fully aware of how vulnerable you may be if you are alone on Valentine’s Day.

Cybercriminals are known to hide behind an identity that will help make them seem more approachable. Some call this tactic, “catfishing” a term made popular by an MTV docu-series about the lies and deception of online dating.

Here are three tips to ensure that you and your online information stays secure this Valentine’s Day.

Never turn over personal information to someone you haven’t met.

I know this sounds like common sense, but sometimes cybercriminals go in for the long-con. They approach  you on social media using a fake account and get you to talk to them, eventually sharing feelings with this person that would look similar to a real-life relationship, despite the fact you haven’t ever met this person.

Just when the cybercriminal thinks that he or she has their victim in a place where they would do anything for them, they ask for personal information. It could be simple questions at first, like, what’s your mother’s maiden name? What high school did you go to? What was your favorite teacher’s name?

You’ve heard these questions before. They are questions that you might list as your security questions on some of your most important online accounts. Be weary of how much information you are telling people that you may only be “online friends” with.

Don’t give someone access to your bank account.

So, let’s say you’ve got an online friend who really, really wants to come down to see you but they just can’t seem to scrape up the money to come to your hometown to meet for the first time. They ask you if you could transfer them the money. Don’t do it!

Alarm bells should go off if someone you are only online friends with decides to ask you for financial assistance. At the end of the day, you’ll be left without that money, no matter how many times they promised you they’d pay you back.

Don’t click strange links.

Perhaps you got a Facebook message from a girl who’s profile picture is really cute, or a guy who is holding an adorable puppy in his cover photo. The entire message is a link to a site you don’t recognize.

Don’t let the pictures fool you, that link is malicious and this person with the cute puppy is out for all your information. This link could be a virus or a link that allows this person access to your computer’s cookies. If this catfisher or cybercriminal is successful in getting your information, they could steal your identity.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is about being close to those you care about. Not sharing your personal or financial information with a cybercriminal sitting in his mom’s basement.

Posted by Sydny Shepard on Feb 14, 2017

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