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Valentines Day scams
© Andrew Marginean |
Security & privacy

Valentine’s Day scams: How to spot 4 sneaky tricks (that fool lots of people)

If you plan something special for Valentine’s Day, you want to ensure everything goes alright. Of course, there are 10 clever ways Alexa can help you set the mood.

But as we’ve cautioned often, scammers are out in full force when there is a special day, a global tragedy or a national event. The day of love is no exception. It’s estimated that nearly $26 billion will be spent this Valentine’s Day, so cybercriminals see it as a lucrative venture.

Read on for four scams making the rounds this year and ways to avoid them.

Heartbreaking Valentine’s Day scams

Naturally, you want your Valentine’s Day date to go off without a hitch. You’ve made elaborate plans, decided on the food and entertainment for the night and ordered some flowers. You’re all set.

However, many people can easily fall into a trap when not thinking clearly or wanting to rush preparations. And it’s these people that scammers target. It might not seem evident initially, but scammers are proficient in stringing victims along for maximum profit.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to raise awareness of Valentine’s Day scams before it’s too late. Here are four scams to watch for.

1. Imposter websites

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

Similar methods may be used to build fake online dating platforms, often used to steal personal data and credit card information.

Pro tip: Imposter website red flags to watch for include products being available at extreme discounts, the seller requests you pay with cash transfer apps or cryptocurrency, and finally, customer service is never reachable.

2. 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 have you on the hook with a sad story, they begin pursuing their true goal — money.

Falling victim to a romance scam can be pretty devastating. You can lose thousands of dollars, and you’ll often leave feeling heartbroken and betrayed because you believed you found a good partner.

Pro tip: Some romance scam red flags to watch for include the relationship moving very quickly, you never actually meet the person in real life, and finally, they ask for money.

3. Wrong number scams

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.

Sadly, 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 or flat-out ask for money.

Pro tip: Wrong number scam red flags to watch for include neverending messages, the sender wanting you to sign up for a website, and finally, they try to get your personal information.

4. Fake florist scam

Many people order flowers for Valentine’s Day. But don’t wait until the last moment, or you may fall for a scam. BBB has received many reports of shoppers who thought they were ordering flowers from an online florist but either got nothing or a disappointing arrangement.

Pro tip: Here are some fake florist scam red flags to watch for: The business has no reviews or bad reviews. You can’t find a return policy or satisfaction guarantee. Finally, the deal is too good to be true.

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