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UVA CyberSecurity Professor Warns of Valentine's Day Scams

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Valentine’s Day is not always a holiday full of sweetness.

A University of Virginia cybersecurity professor, Angela Orebaugh, says it is a prime time for cyber-based attacks against the lovelorn.

She says when finding dates online, make sure to lookout for any odd behavior. 

"You may not be paying close attention to the links that you're clicking on. You may be more trusting of individuals," said Orebaugh.

The FBI rated romance scams as one of the top 10 reported Internet crimes in 2014. The scam is also known as Catfishing.

"This is where an attacker assumes a fake identity online and they gain your trust. They eventually profess their love for you and you trust this individual and that's where they start asking for money or personal information," said Orebaugh.

This behavior is a red flag.

"They'll create some sort of fake emergency scenario and start asking for money that way, or they may say they want to come visit you and they live abroad or they live out of state or out of the country somewhere and they need money to come visit you," said Orebaugh.

If you think you've been scammed, just make sure to keep track of all transactions.

"Monitor your bank accounts, monitor your credit cards, if you see something suspicious on there you want to report that to either your credit card or your bank," said Orebaugh.

Experts say e-card scams are also very popular during Valentine’s Day.

Clicking on spam emails could eventually lead to malware being installed on your computer, which can be used to monitor your personal information. 

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