Dating email scams have experienced a significant rise during January and went on into February. You have probably already witnessed emails like this landing in your inboxes.

The emails look like they were sent by Russian women seeking love. Unsolicited emails from attractive women that include suggestive pictures and messages claiming the recipient is particularly attractive are certain to be spam, yet the emails are effective. The FBI’s figures show that approximately $230 million is lost to these scams alone each year. In 2016, the FBI received was sent 15,000 complaints in relation to financial losses as a result of dating and romance scams.

There were two major spikes in spam email volume between January 15 and 17 and January 29 and February 2 when around 35 million dating spam messages were sent using the Necurs botnet. Over 230 million messages were shared during a two-week period in January. The focus of the campaign is to steal credit card information, payments to cover flights to take the women over to the US, but in many cases the purpose is to fool the email recipient into installing malware.

Hackers use all types of tactics to entice users to click. Another effective tactic, highlighted by security awareness training firms KnowBe4 and PhishMe, is the use of eCards, particularly on Valentine’s Day. Links are sent that appear to be from genuine eCard sites that require users to click the link to view a Valentine’s day card from a secret admirer. The purpose is to share malware.

Valentine’s day email scams this year also come with messages warning the recipient about the failed delivery of flowers from Interflora and email attachments claiming to be delivery receipts.

It is highly probably that these emails being clicked on makes defending against them a major pain for companies. Just one click is all it takes for malware to be downloaded, and since many malware variants can rapidly spread laterally, one click could be all it takes to impact a complete network.

Winter Olympics Scams Persist

This month has also borne witness to a number of Winter Olympics phishing campaigns. Hackers have been focusing on the games to get their emails clicked on. Malicious links are used to direct users to websites that claim to have recent news on the events, the competitors, fake news, and the results of events.

Instead of this these links direct users to phishing websites, exploit kits, and sites where malware is silently installed. With workers not able to watch the sports live at work, these malicious emails stand a high chance of being clicked on.

With Valentine’s day and the Winter Olympics, February has been a fruitful busy month for scammers and with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics still in full flow, companies need to be on high alert.

Luckily, there is one technology in particular that can help businesses counter these email-based dangers. An advanced spam filtering solution: The most successful security measure against email-based attacks. An advanced spam filter such as SpamTitan blocks more than 99.9% of spam emails, 100% of known malware, and ensures that phishing and other malicious emails do not land in inboxes.

Contact the TitanHQ team today to find out more about SpamTitan.