From Russia, with love is probably a scam


Many romance scams use attractive Russian women as lures

This is the season when romance scams shift into overdrive. If you’re a male on social media or dating sites looking for female company, scammers likely will compete with each other to hook you.

This week’s ConsumerAffairs-Trend Micro Threat Alert has found a Russian connection. Scammers pretend to be an attractive Russian woman looking for a relationship are sending victims their profile and picture via a link. 

Clicking the link, however, will direct victims to an adult website. The Trend Micro research team detected 5,465 logs on Feb 5. Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, says women purported to be Russian have long been used as lures.

“In the past, many of the images were stolen from the Internet and were of real people, but in the future, we’ll likely see fake images created by AI, which will be easier to create than trying to find images on the net,” Clay told ConsumerAffairs.

Clay says consumers should be leery of any unsolicited message that offers romance and includes these types of images or even videos as they are likely to be scams. The objective is to steal personal information, your financial data, or even steal your intimate pictures after some online interaction with the scammers.

Fake surveys

Fake surveys, promising valuable rewards, are a constant threat. In recent months scammers have pretended to be Walmart or Costco, asking consumers for feedback but stealing personal information.

Lately, scammers are pretending to be State Farm Insurance. Victims receive an email inviting them to participate in a survey in order to receive a valuable reward.

Businesses can’t afford to give thousands of consumers gifts worth hundreds of dollars, just for submitting a survey. Typically, a company like Burger King will offer a free Whopper to complete a survey. If the gift is more valuable than that, watch out.

HR phishing scam

Bad actors impersonated HR departments to ask email receivers to check an online document and redirect victims to log in on a fake TRBM email portal. The Trend Micro research team detected 289 logs on Feb 5.

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