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Mother's Day Scams

(with video below)

When you're looking for Mother's Day ideas or researching where to buy Mother's Day flowers via online services, make sure you're not falling for many notorious scams.

Mother's Day is another time of the year when scammers just can't wait to get their 'creativity' going, preying on people's naivety. Below there are seven scams that are circulating these days and which prove to be lucrative for criminals. As Mother's Day is the biggest spending time of the year after Christmas and Thanksgiving, beware of the following:

Scam #1: Flower Shop Scam

How the scam works:

Watch the video below to see in action the Flower Shop scam exposed:

Flower Shop Scam In The News Video

The most bought item every Mother's Day is a bouquet of flowers. Within days, criminals set up fake online flower shops (they look great!), promote them with advertisements all over the Internet and charge victims who are attracted by the low price. Indeed, there are no flowers to be delivered and several victims just give their credit card numbers without proper research.

The second variation of this scam comes from 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 fees bring the total cost to a sum higher than any other regular deal.

How to avoid:

In the first case, 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 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. Don’t fall for a phone conversation either – the scammers are good at that, too. We wish we could recommend you one or two stores, but it all depends on where you live.


Scam #2: Mother's Day Shopping Trends

How the scam works:

When it comes to gifts, every special time of the year - Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or Christmas - people google things such as "Mother's Day gifts" or "Valentine's day ideas". You probably did, too.

However, scammers are well aware of the most desirable gift items by looking for the most sought after keywords used on the Internet. Then they will do what they can to help you compromise the security of your PC.

These cyber-crooks will build fake websites containing the most desired items for sale 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. Alternatively, if it's not a virus, they'll max out your credit card by selling you bogus, inexistent products.

How to avoid:

Be sure your computer is always loaded with the latest in virus and malware protection. 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.


Scam #3: Mother’s Day E-Card

How the scam works:

With the advancement of the technology, many people are sending e-cards nowadays. As many mothers expect a card from her children, even online, many open their emails without taking a second look. Unfortunately, criminals know that, too.

These e-cards, which contain malware which will infect your computer upon opening, are a favorite trick of scammers. These malicious communications are usually tagged mostly with the line “Your children sent you an e-card!”

How to avoid:

Do not open any emails that have that particular title subject. If your kids send you an e-card, the line should be more like: "John (or whatever your kid's name is) sent you an e-card", not "your children". Be also careful the other way around, if you decide to send an e-card to your mom. Use only reputable companies such as Smilebox, which lets you send free personalized cards you can create for your mother. 


Scam #4: Fake Gift Cards

How the scam works:

As Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching and people are trying to find the perfect gift, some prefer giving their mom a gift card so that they can choose the perfect gift for themselves.

Scammers are well aware of this growing trend and are utilizing 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 just a few minutes.

How to avoid:

Use caution. Don’t purchase cards from pop-up ads or messages on Facebook or Twitter. Always go to the website of the retailer from whom you are buying the card. By doing this, you know you are making a legitimate purchase and protecting your identity as well. Similar to the e-card example, use only trustworthy companies for the gift card purchase.



Scam #5: Twitter Instant Deals

How the scam works:

We all use Twitter to communicate these days, and you’ve posted a tweet about a holiday gift you are trying to find. Within minutes, you receive a direct message or are tagged by another user offering to sell you the item you are looking for. This could easily be a sophisticated scam.

How to avoid:

Unless you know the person that has messaged or tagged you, think twice before accepting any offers. If you do decide to take a chance, never pay up front for any item purchased this way. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.


Scam #6: Duplication of Known Websites

How the scam works:

Cyber criminals will stop at nothing to try and obtain personal information from their victims. This fraudulent behavior includes the elaborate scheme of building complete copies of well-known sites, then sending e-mails promoting great deals. Of course, once you have “shopped” on their site – for merchandise that never arrives, no less – your credit cards have been compromised, and possibly your identity as well.

How to avoid:

Whenever shopping online make sure you are using only secure sites, indicated by the https:// in their web address. If the address begins with http://, steer clear. This is an unsecured site, and your information could be compromised.


Scam #7: Mother's Day Credit Card

How the scam works:

Oh yes, this too. Internet swindlers advertise pay-in-advance scams for credit cards. These e-mails, sent through spam, will advertise “Special this Mother's Day: prequalified, super-low interest” credit cards and loans if the victim pays a processing fee up front. "Because we know and appreciate how hard you work as a mom," the fake ad says.

How to avoid:

Never believe pre-paid loan or credit card offers; they are simply not legitimate. No real lender is going to offer credit for an upfront fee. And always be wary of any offer that comes, unsolicited, to your e-mail. This is a red flag that the offer is bogus.

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