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Thursday, July 18, 2024

SCAM ALERT: Valentine’s Day scams to avoid

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 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:
• Products are available at extreme discounts.
• The seller requests customers pay with cash transfer apps or cryptocurrency.
• Customer service is unreachable.

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.”
If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be the local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential, if you wish).

Send your story to: rahnl@windomnews.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing your story, you could prevent someone from being scammed.
Watch www.windomnews.com for regular weekday updates at 8 a.m./noon/5 p.m., plus BREAKING stories at other times. Follow CoCoCitizen @CitPub on Twitter.

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