ATLANTA — According to the National Retail Federation projections, this Valentine’s Day is shaping up to be big, which suggests that consumer spending will reach nearly $24 billion.
As consumers prepare to celebrate, there are a few common scams that consumers need to know. Whether they’re hoping to spark a new relationship or buying gifts for loved ones, beware of these three scams regularly reported to BBB.
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.
- Products are available at extreme discounts.
- The seller requests customers pay with cash transfer apps or cryptocurrency.
- Customer service is unreachable.
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.
- 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. It might even seem like the polite thing to do if they say they’re looking to reconnect with a potential match.
However, the text message 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 spambots.
- 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.
- 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 to take action against the scammer’s account.
See more BBB’s Valentine’s Day scam alerts and tips at BBB.org/Valentine.