Better Business Bureau warns against Valentine’s Day scams
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers should be on high alert for scammers as there are four regularly reported to the Better Business Bureau.
The National Retail Federation suggests consumer spending for this Valentine’s Day will reach nearly $26 billion. And with so much money being spent, it’s important to watch out for imposter websites, romance scams, wrong number scams and fake florist scams.
“For folks who are looking for traditional gifts or jewelry, chocolate or flowers, which all make great gifts, of course, but scammers know those are hot items as well,” said Josh Planos, BBB Vice President of Communications & Public Relations.
Planos said for the handful of reputable sites that provide those gifts, there are handful of those that aren’t.
When it comes to imposter websites, you can find anything from fake jewelry sellers to online dating sites. The BBB said it has become easier for scammers to lift official photos, logos and more to build an attractive website that looks like the real thing. Some things to keep in mind would be websites with products offering extreme discounts, sellers requesting customers pay with cash transfer apps or cryptocurrency or if customer service is unreachable.
Another scam that the BBB tends to see more in February and March is romance scams.
Scammers often target vulnerable people who have experienced a recent breakup or other hardship.
Planos said scammers take advantage by establishing a connection and gain sympathy. Once they’ve gotten their victim on the hook with a sad story, they begin pursuing their true goal–money.
“This is really frankly a devastating week for consumers each and every year,” Planos said.
Some red flags are when relationships are moving too fast, you don’t meet in person or if they ask for money.
Wrong number scams are another thing people should be aware of. If you get a text from someone, you may think it’s ok to reply but they are looking to lure you into a conversation and get your personal information by directing you to sign up for an adult site.
Watch out for messages that don’t stop or if a sender directs you to sign a website.
Lastly, when ordering flowers online, be careful that you are going to a legitimate site and are purchasing flowers that will eventually be delivered. Consumers should double check if there’s no reviews on the website, a return policy or if the deal seems too good to be true.
“It is a special moment each and every year,” Planos said. “It’s also a time to be cognizant of what it is you are signing up for and understanding the terms and conditions of the product or service that you hope to secure.”
If you encounter a suspected romance scam, cut off all contact with the perpetrator by blocking their accounts and phone number. Then, report your experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Dating site users should also report suspicious activity to the platform, so they can act against the scammers account.
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