An Open-Eyed Approach to Fraud Ahead of Valentine’s Day

There is nothing romantic about fraud, yet it begs the question as to why Valentine’s Day and cybercrime are increasingly intertwined as the most unlikely of bedfellows.

Valentines Day and Online Fraud

The period leading up to the International Day of Love is fast emerging as one of the year’s most active for online fraud. But why? What is it about Valentine’s Day that makes it so appealing for prolific fraudsters, and why are merchants more vulnerable and open to attack at this time?

For starters, do you remember being in love? That silly, light-headed feeling of possibility and frivolity that causes one to let their guard down is real, and all too often people act upon the dreams they wish to believe.  When illegitimate sources send out fake and fraudulent advertisements, promotions, and offers, dripping with promises and incentives and often mirroring real well-known businesses and brands, all in the name of love of course, consumers are quick to trust the façade, and fall prey to malevolent tricks. 

These tactics can appear via email, social media, and even web banners, and actually occurred when an international cybercrime group impersonated the popular Pandora jewelry company, a popular destination for Valentine’s Day. Consumers were duped into handing over their private information and hard-earned cash believing that they were purchasing real goods from the high-end brand-name provider. Imagine their dismay when gifts never arrived at their intended destinations, or when they found out they were exploited, all in the name of love. Talk about heartbreak…

Jewelry and Luxury Gifts are a High Risk for Cyber Crime

Jewelry and luxury gift providers in general are at especially high risk around this time of year, as couples seek romantic and meaningful gifts for one another. Besides the risks of impersonation and mirroring, cyber criminals will leverage this busy period for their benefit by stymying e-commerce platforms with volume cyber-attacks to overwhelm and jam online business operations. 

Compounding this threat, often online merchants will genuinely become frazzled by the increased traffic surrounding February 14th and are unprepared to meet the demand for manual transaction reviews. Whether they simply cannot handle the flow and allow fraud to penetrate their efforts or have hired inadequately trained or unmotivated temp workers to assist in the overages, fraudsters are aware and prepare to wage cyberbattles accordingly. Perhaps all is not fair in love and war after all.

Both vendors and consumers will be targeted surrounding Valentine’s Day, and the public can expect to encounter a variety of fraudulent promotions that apply an array of phishing and pharming techniques. A good rule of thumb is, if it appears too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is, and buyers ought to beware.

For vendors, it can be tricky, as some of the most suspicious actions that may traditionally trigger fraud alerts are more likely to be legitimate transactions this time of year. Case in point, unmatching billing and shipping addresses, even countries apart. Normally, something like that would raise a red flag, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, love knows no borders, and it is common for people to purchase gifts for their loved ones many miles away. Expedited shipping due to last minute purchases of passion are also common around this time, even though under typical circumstances those sorts of sales might demand a second look.

Examining another angle, with the uptick in online traffic, vendors may relax their fraud detection systems to allow for more sales, and, hoping to reduce friction among customers, aim to mitigate the risk of false declines, especially for first-timers. That leaves their systems porous and vulnerable to attacks of all sorts. It is a delicate balance, yet is one that can be met with comprehensive anti-fraud solutions, like NoFraud, that leverages AI and an array of sophisticated strategies to meet and neutralize the most cunning of cyberthreats, even during this season, which often creeps up on people and fuels the risks typified by the “last minute rush.”

While they say that “love is blind,” it really pays for both vendors and consumers alike to open their eyes wide to the risks of cyber fraud, especially this time of year.


To learn more how your business can prepare and protect itself and its customers ahead of Valentine’s Day, visit NoFraud.com.

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Book a demo and see our accurate real-time fraud screening for eCommerce in action.