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Valentine’s Day scams can be heartbreakers

February 11, 2011
Daily Press

Valentine's Day is a day for romance and expressions of love, but it's also an opportune time for scam artists to take advantage of those looking for love and steal their hearts - and their money. For those who are searching for love or are already in a relationship, the Better Business Bureau warns people to watch out for these scams:

Online Dating

Millions of people are using online dating sites to look for that perfect match. But scammers also use these sites, looking for their own match perfect victim. They target singles of any age and in any location, creating fake profiles designed to convince their victim to send them money in the name of love. Others are even arranging to meet single women in person before stealing their valuables at the first opportunity.

Tip: Don't fall for a person who claims to be in love with you at first sight. Scammers usually use emotional ties to increase the chances of getting your money. If your match asks you to pay for the travel expenses, there is a high probability that it is a scam.

E-Cards

Phishing scams that target people waiting for notes of love are all too common. One common Valentine's Day scam comes in the form of an email, which directs the recipient to a fake website that looks like a popular greeting card website, like Hallmark. The site prompts the recipient of the card to download the latest version of Flash Player in order to view the card. Once the user clicks the link, a virus is automatically downloaded and invades their computer, exposing the person and their email contact book to potential identity theft and financial loss. Other phishing scams prompt targets to provide credit card and other personal information in order to read the e-card.

Tip: Make sure you only open emails, attachments, and links from people you know. Enhance your email filters to block any such threats. Watch out for unsolicited emails with subject lines like "Someone just sent you an e-card" or "Send your loved one a Valentine's Day card today".

Online Florists

Not all florists are created equal. One Surrey-based online florist, Pink Lotus Florist, has received 112 complaints from the BBB in the last three years and has an F-rating. Complaints that allege that either the flowers were not delivered as promised (wrong flowers or arrangements) or not delivered at all. Some consumers claim that the charges to their credit card were not as agreed upon. A number of complaints also expressed concern with a $10 processing fee that was charged after canceling the transaction when the flowers did not arrive on the date promised.

Tip: Consumers should make sure to read the terms and conditions before making any online purchase, and check out the company's BBB rating at www.bbb.org. Also, consider shopping locally with a business you know rather than one you found online.

 
 

 

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