BBB’S Guide to a Safe Prom

Tips for Avoiding Prom Scams 
April 04, 2017

Before teenagers dance the night away, families will need a checklist to prepare for a scam-free prom. According to Visaparents and teens in the west can spend an average total of $937 for prom expenses. Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest warns families to beware of prom scams, especially for purchases made online.   

Formal wear, flowers, photography, transportation, hair, make-up and promposals are some of the expenses associated with prom night. The latest social media trends for teens is the elaborate "promposal" where students go to great lengths to ask their date to promVisa  revealed these promposals make up about a third of the total costs of prom. BBB urges consumers to look out for online purchase ads, especially on social media sites, that could lead to potential scams. 

BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of online prom purchase scams where the consumer has never received the item, of additional unauthorized charges to their credit cards, and of poor quality merchandise.  

BBB offers the following advice to avoid prom scams this season:   

  • Formal Attire: Reports to BBB Scam Tracker show consumers lost an estimated $2,000 for online prom dress purchases from what turned out to be fake websites. To find a reputable business, visit 
  • Transportation: Costs for limousines and party buses can vary from $65 to $400 per hour depending on the type of vehicle and number of passengers. Check the business reviews, licensing and set up a contract to ensure a safe, trustworthy ride.  
  • CosmeticsBBB advises consumers to stay clear of offers for free trials or samplesIn the last two years, more than $1,000 has been lost by Northwest consumers when purchasing beauty products online 
  • Floral Arrangements: So far in  2017, $1,000 has been lost in 15 online floral purchase scams across the nation. Visit your local florist or research a trustworthy business with BBB to ensure boutonnieres and corsages are properly made.  
  • Photography: Cameras and photographers can be expensive. Be sure to check out photographers at Read the fine print for any photographic packages.  

To report an experience with prom scams, visit BBB Scam Tracker.   

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB Northwest serves more than 14 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Western Wyoming.