A new dating scam pretends to help users review their matches for free on eHarmony.com in a fraudulent campaign that piggybacks on the eHarmony name and reputation – a web dating portal with members in 150 countries and a tradition of almost 14 years.
Unsolicited e-mails promise perfect dates only if they join the eHarmony community by following a link in the message body. But, as users hit the Find My Matches button, they undergo a series of suspicious and unjustified redirects and reach a landing page instead of the official eharmony.com website.
The landing page comprises a list of links to regional dating and chat websites – some of which seem similar to the Russian bride scheme, in which women from Russia want to get married but don’t have money to travel to the countries the men are living in. As soon as the men send the money, the relationship ends and the women disappear.
The dating webpages advertise matches from various areas including Spain, Brazil, Asia or East Europe.
Of course, these e-mails will under no circumstance get users eHarmony memberships or perfect matches. Because they are fake messages that hijack singletons and take them to shady dating websites or shopping portals.
These scam e-mails include mistakes or inconsistencies that should alert recipients to their suspicious origin:
- the e-mail doesn’t originate from the eHarmony domain – @eharmony.com – they are random names associated to random domain names – e.g. eharmfree@se[removed]ely.net
- the URLs in the message don’t steer the reader towards the eHarmony webpage, but towards other dating sites
- instead of the standard URL provided to users who want to unsubscribe, the scam e-mail has images that, once clicked, will redirect users to a webpage that again pretends to pertain to eHarmony
- spelling mistakes in the message body, inconsistencies in the background choice and a messy subject line
Users need to pay attention to such hints and delete any unsolicited e-mails that land in their inbox. If they want to join a dating community, they need to look for the official dating portal and subscribe manually at the website. They should also look for recommendations from people who have personally used these services.
A good antivirus solution will block malicious webpages and warn users they are about to enter a suspicious website.
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