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BBB scam alert: Top Valentine’s Day scams

This Valentine’s Day is shaping up to be big, according to projections by the National Retail Federation, which suggests that consumer spending will reach nearly $24 billion.

As you prepare to celebrate, there are few common scams that you need to be aware of. Whether you’re hoping to spark a new relationship or buying gifts for loved ones, beware of these three scams regularly reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Impostor websites

From fake jewelry sellers to online dating sites, consumers should always be on the alert for impostor websites. Scammers can easily lift official photos, sale promotions and logos directly from the website for a popular jewelry brand. With professional graphics and unbeatable prices, scammers build an attractive website that looks eerily similar to the real thing.

Similar methods may be used to build fake online dating platforms, which are often used to steal personal data and credit card information. For more tips to spot fake websites, read our guide to smart shopping online.

Red flags: 

Romance scams

Romance scammers often target vulnerable people who have experienced a recent breakup or other hardship. They take advantage of that heartbreak to establish 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.

Falling victim to a romance scam can be particularly devastating. Victims can lose thousands of dollars, and they’re often left feeling heartbroken and betrayed because they really believed they’d found a good partner. Read more about romance scams for safe online dating advice.

Red flags:

  • The relationship moves very fast.
  • You never meet in person.
  • They ask for money.

Wrong number scam

Responding to a text message from someone who messaged the wrong number might seem harmless. In fact, it might even seem like the polite thing to do, if they say they’re looking to reconnect with a potential match.

The text message, however, is bait to lure you into a conversation. If you keep chatting, they eventually try to get your personal information by directing you to sign up for an adult site. Learn more about wrong number texts and scam bots.

Red flags:

  • The messages don’t stop.
  • The sender directs you to sign up for a website.
  • They try to get your personal information.

Fake florist scam

Ordering flowers for Valentine’s Day? Don’t procrastinate or you may end up falling for a scam. BBB has received many reports of shoppers who thought they were ordering flowers from an online florist… but either got nothing at all, or a disappointing arrangement. Don’t let phony florists ruin Valentine’s Day.

Red Flags:

  • The business has no reviews or bad reviews (always check BBB.org!)
  • You can’t find a return policy or satisfaction guarantee.
  • The deal is “too good to be true.”

What to do if you encounter a scam

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 take action against the scammers account.

For more information about romance scams, visit BBB.org/romance.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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