It’s that time of the year again, when love becomes a commodity, pretty much like Christmas. And both wear red, mind you. And both are about spending money. At least this is the impression I get from the emails I receive every day from Amazon, eBay, and other online shopping portals I dared to visit once to buy a random treat or two. I even got mail from a dating company that wanted to introduce me to a hot Russian lady, despite the fact that I am a woman, and happily married on top of that.
But spam knows no gender, does it? I mean, companies that use spamming as a marketing strategy for Valentine’s Day are probably doing what they’ve always done: buy thousands if not millions of email addresses and bulk message them. And the companies that send “opt in” emails are no better this time of year – since they send too many messages of the same sort, and nothing really enticing. But the companies with a reputation that overwhelm my inbox are not really the problem. The unknown senders are.
In 7 out of 10 situations, V-Day emails sent by questionable senders are infested with tracking cookies, trojans, and other virtual critters that should never land on your computer.
“It is important to remember that computer viruses and worms can masquerade themselves as e-cards and once executed, these viruses or worms can infect your computer and spread to your loved ones,” says Craig Scroggie, vice president and managing director of anti-virus firm Symantec Australia and New Zealand. And speaking of Symantec, you are well advised to visit their Valentine’s Day spam page for 2010.
You’ll be amazed at the ingeniousness of the spammers – I got the message from an engagement rings company myself and Norton went crazy blocking a number of malware.
The people from the Spam Experts warn us too: Valentine’s Day is only a few days away and truly a red mark on every security vendor’s calendar. Receiving millions of Valentine’s messages to your inbox could make you feel that you are really loved and even though that is probably true, the intention of the e-cards more often than not is to scam you! For example, by clicking on a link to view your personally addressed e-card, you could get infected with a virus or even become part of a botnet.
The moral of the story is: no one can actually stop the Valentine’s Day spam, but you should not fall for it. Do not buy stuff advertised in email messages, not even from the companies you know. There are enough phishing attempts made in Amazon and eBay’s names to make you worry.