Your Better Business Bureau advises valentines to research companies and websites before making a purchase for someone special this month, especially if he or she hasn’t shopped from the website or business previously. Scam artists are known to create scam websites offering popular Valentine-related essentials with attractive prices this time of year.
“Consumers may spot the perfect gift in an online ad or social media posting and make a purchase without doing any research on the company offering the deal, thinking that they are getting an excellent deal on a great gift,” says Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. “But when the product arrives and doesn’t look anything like what was supposedly purchased or doesn’t arrive at all, only then does the consumer do their research to see what company is responsible for taking their money.”
Better Business Bureau encourages consumers to do their due diligence and search the company or website on bbb.org before making a purchase, to discover basic company information, read previous consumer complaints and more. Sham websites aren’t the only online tricks consumers should be watching for this month. February is also a popular time for email scams and online dating scams:
Romance Scams- Just when an online relationship seems to be getting serious, your online beau experiences some sort of emergency. No matter the situation, the request that follows is always the same: he or she needs money.
Phishing Emails - The package delivery scam tends to heat up again this time of year. An email reads you have missed a package and a popular delivery service, like FedEx or UPS is unable to contact you to complete the delivery. The email recipient is asked to download an attachment help resolve the issue, but the attachment is actually a virus.
Purchasing Flowers Online - In 2016, more than 450 complaints were filed with BBB during the month of February relating to florists and flower companies. Avoid issues with your flower orders by shopping with a trusted company, ordering early and requesting information about refunds and guarantees in case the flowers don’t arrive or arrive in poor condition. Make sure the company has your contact information if delivery questions arise.
Buying Jewelry - Educate yourself on basic jewelry terms before browsing stores. For instance, know the 4 C’s of a diamond’s value, ask the jeweler about diamond treatments and never view a diamond with a black background.
To search a company’s BBB Business Profile, file a complaint or report a scam, visit bbb.org.