Here are the most common Valentine’s Day scams this year:
1. Valentine’s Day Scam: eCard
Ah, Valentine’s Day. The one day of the year when we take the time to buy flowers for that special someone, candy, jewelry, or even just a card, all designed to say “I love you.”
In this electronic age, many people are sending e-cards. But beware of e-cards this Valentine’s Day from an unknown sender, as you could be getting a less than pleasant Valentine. As many people in a relationship expect a card from the loved one, many open their emails without taking a second look. Unfortunately, criminals know that, too.
These e-cards, which contain malware that will infect your computer upon opening, are a favorite trick of scammers. These malicious communications are usually tagged mostly with the line “Your lover sent you an e-card!”
How to avoid:
You need to use prevention. Under any circumstances, do not open one of these cards, regardless of how intrigued you are to discover the sender’s identity. Be especially cautious of opening these types of communications on your workplace computer; if you do, you could find yourself job hunting by St. Patrick’s Day! Be careful the other way around if you decide to send an e-card to your partner. Choose only legitimate services.
2. Fake Flower Shops
Okay, you want to buy flowers for your girl. She deserves it. So you go on the Internet and search for beautiful bouquets and reliable delivery service in your city. A bunch of flower shops is popping up in your search engine. You click, check the websites, every single of one them displaying unique flowers at great prices! (“Special for Valentine’s Day!”).
The website looks good, the company claims to be a family run business for many years, and you bite the bait. Order online, pay, fill in the address where it needs to be shipped, and you’re happy your girl will have the best surprise ever. Little did you know that she’s not going to get them, and your credit card will be charged because you missed a lot of things in the process, such as:
- The flower shop showed up at the top of the search engine or on the side, under ‘Sponsored links’. Which meant they paid to be seen by you and did not show up organically.
- They did not have a physical location for their store. Not having a brick-and-mortar establishment merely sells a ‘long time family run business’.
- Your city’s name showed up on their website because Internet cookies geotagged it. Whether you live in Seattle or Melbourne, you’ll get the same ad text, customized to your geographical area.
Make sure you pay close attention to all these three things.
Another variation of this scam is represented by real companies that take online payments advertising small prices but fill the final invoice shipping charges that the consumer is not aware of. These extra payments bring the total cost to a sum higher than any other regular deal.
How to avoid:
Always research the seller. You are not buying flowers every day, so don’t just jump into paying for the lowest price without doing your homework. Is it a legitimate business? If yes, look for reviews and testimonials. Don’t believe their own testimonials. Visit an online forum or two, check their Better Business Bureau rating, and research their location. The Internet will give you all you need if you do it right. See if they have a physical place in your city and go there to visit. But the flowers there.
Don’t fall for an eventual phone conversation either – the scammers are good at that, too. We wish we could recommend one or two stores, but it all depends on where you live. Flowers don’t last long.
3. Valentine’s Day Scams on Shopping Trends
Everyone has that “most-desired” item their partner wants for Valentine’s Day, and we always know what the most popular are each year.
However, scammers are well aware of these desirable gift items by looking for the most sought-after expressions used on the Internet around Valentine’s Day. Including wedding and engagement rings!
Then they will do what they can to help you compromise your PC’s security.
These cyber-crooks will build fake websites containing the most desired sale items at incredibly steep discounts. Of course, once you have “made your purchase” you have downloaded malicious spyware onto your computer, compromising your PC and possibly your identity as well.
How to avoid:
Be sure your computer is always loaded with the latest virus and malware protection from reputable companies. Be leery of sites that have unsecured URL’s. Also, plan to make your purchases on one of the more well-known online shopping sites to ensure your identity and the health of your computer.
4. Bogus Gift Card Scam
As Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and people are trying to find the perfect gift for that special someone, some prefer giving their sweetheart a gift card to choose the ideal gift for themselves.
Scammers are well aware of this growing trend and utilize social media to deliver their scam to unsuspecting shoppers.
The scammers will offer gift cards to well-known retailers at unbelievably steep discounts through advertisements and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Once the victim has entered their information into the bogus database, the criminals have all the ammunition they need to steal their identity.
The danger with these posts on social media is that people share with their friends and families the so-called “great deal” without knowing that their credit card will be maxed out in a few minutes.
How to avoid:
The best prevention is an ounce of cure. Don’t purchase cards from pop-up ads or messages on Facebook or Twitter. Always go to the retailer’s website from whom you are purchasing the card. By doing this, you know you are making a legitimate purchase and protecting your identity as well.
How To Detect Scam Websites
If you feel a website might be suspicious, feel free to verify it using our unique Scam Detector website validator below:
How To Report a Valentine’s Day Scam
Warn your family and friends about these Valentine’s Day scams by sharing this article on your social media accounts. You can also officially report suspicious flower stores or any shady activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More
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On the same token, educate yourself with some other special days fraud-related articles below, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, feel free to use the Comments section below to expose other online scammers.
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5 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Scams”
So if you know about these, then why can’t you work with the authorities and put the scammers in PRISON???
Hello Joseph, at least in my country, it is not an easy task to involve the authorities in this type of fraud. What we can do is prevent others from falling victim to such scam sites by exposing them to the community.
£3 Argos mobile phone scam
Thank you, very interesting.
Thank You Very Helpiful