We’ve seen an increase in cybercriminals leveraging cultural events for personal gain in recent years, and Valentine’s Day is always a catalyst for new scams and attacks. This year, we’re seeing fraudsters caught posing as fake personalities to find and connect with potential victims who are looking for a romantic relationship.
After spending weeks of gaining these victims’ trust, vulnerable targets may be persuaded to send money to scammers for multiple reasons, including travel costs to visit or ‘emergency’ funds. Recent examples – such as the Nicolas Cage scam – highlight how romance fraud is soaring and becoming more imaginative, and many victims are often embarrassed to come forward. As well as focusing on dating apps and social media networks, we’ve seen an increase in recent years of cybercriminals using phishing email lures to attract victims around Valentine’s Day. For example, they may pose as a fake online florist asking for order confirmation or pretend to be a recent love interest met on a dating site.