BBB helps last minuet shoppers spot scammers
Showering mom with jewelry, flowers and spa packages are some ways to let mom know you care, but with more than 6,000 inquires about jewelers, florists, spas and gift basket businesses last year, BBB is encouraging sons and daughters to listen to their mothers and do their homework before handing over their money.
"We all want to do something special to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives, but unfortunately scammers are counting on last-minuet shoppers to overlook the red flags of bogus deals," says Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. "Between fake websites, phony flower shops and malicious e-cards, it can be easy for anyone to end up with a surprise disappointment."
BBB urges consumers to be mindful of these malicious Mother's Day scams:
Fake Flower Shops
- Just a few days before, criminals set up fake online flower shops advertising cheap flower arrangements that actually don't exist. Once people pay, the scammers stop communication with buyers, leaving them with no flowers and an empty wallet.
- Only purchase flowers from reputable retailers. Call the business directly to verify all deals, discounts and terms and conditions before making your purchase.
Mother's Day E-Card
- Scammers load e-cards with malicious malware that infect your electronic devices and compromise your personal information. Do not open any emails saying "Your children sent you an e-card!"If John sent you an e-card, the line should be more like: "John sent you an e-card, "not "your children."
- Call your kids to see if they did in fact send an e-card.
- Look for spelling mistakes like 'Congratulation!' or if names are spelled wrong.
- Any doubts, just delete it.
Fake Gift Cards
- Con artists will use pop-up ads offer gift cards to well-known retailers at a discounted price. Once people have entered their information to obtain the card, scammers use your personal info to max out your credit card.
- Always go to the official retailer website to purchase gift cards.
- Make sure the code on the back has not been revealed.
- If buying online, makes sure your anti-virus programs are up to date.
- They should have no expiration date.
Duplication of Known Websites
- Cyber criminals create bogus websites that closely resemble credible, legitimate sites, then send e-mails promoting great deals. Once you shop on their site, merchandise never arrives, your credit cards have been compromised, and possibly your identity.
- Whenever shopping online, make sure the URL contains https to ensure it is a secure website before entering in your personal information.
Mother's Day Credit Card
- Internet swindlers advertise pay-in-advance for credit cards. These e-mails, sent through spam, will advertise "Special this Mother's Day: pre-qualified, super-low interest" credit cards if you pay a processing fee up front.
- Whether borrowing money, claiming a prize, or performing work from home, never pay money to receive money. Beware of unsolicited emails, and do not click on suspicious links or attachments.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Leah Brownridge, Media and Corporate Communications Specialist
Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually.
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