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Keep Your Heart and Your Bank Account Safe This Valentine’s Day

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 $26 billion. As you prepare to celebrate, there are a few common scams that you need to be aware of. Whether hoping to spark a new relationship or buying gifts for loved ones, beware of these three scams regularly reported to BBB.

Impostor websites

Consumers should always be alert for impostor websites, from fake jewelry sellers to online dating sites. 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 eerily similar 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. Read our guide to smart shopping online for more tips to spot fake websites.   

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 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. 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 scammer’s account. 

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

About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.

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