Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and that means you’re probably scrambling to get your significant other something nice. Or if you’re lazy, a great e-card. While Valentine’s Day tends to bring out the romantic in many of us, it also brings out the scammer is some of us. And while we all want that bouquet of roses or edible chocolates in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, there are some scams you should be on the lookout for.
In 2014, 1.26 percent of online dating transactions during Valentine’s Day were fraudulent and the FBI received more than 5,000 romance scam complaints.
Most scammers play into two things, our desire for love, and our trust in certain organizations. They do this by crafting emails or messages that trick people into believing they are a legit organization, like a greeting card company or a delivery company. Here are the top scams to be on the lookout for this year.
1. Fake E-Cards
This is one of the more popular ones around the holiday. If you get an email that sounds like it’s from someone you know, or from a legit looking card company, be wary. Sometimes the subject line will include something like “Someone special sent you an e-card,” which of course pique’s even the most cautious person’s interest. If you click on the link, it could load malware or other harmful viruses onto your computer.
2. Phishy flowers
If you are sending someone flowers or expecting flowers on February 14, be extra careful. Often scammers will send an email from a flower company saying they need you to re-enter your credit card information for the flowers to be delivered. This scam works more often than most because so many people order flowers for Valentine’s Day. Many people don’t take the time to check the origin of the email because they don’t want their flowers to be late – but scammers can get their credit card information. Call the florist directly to make sure the email is legit.
3. Fake deliveries
Similar to the flower scam, someone will create a fake delivery email that asks you to download a form or click on a link to another site in order for your package to be delivered. If you do either it could put a virus on your computer, or take you to a site asking for personal information. Before you click on the email or any of the attachments, call the shipping company to confirm they sent out an email.
A catfish is a scammer who creates fake profiles on dating sites to attempt to lure their matches into sending personal information or money. They create fake profiles on sites such as Match.com or Tinder and try to find susceptible matches. A few ways to spot scammers on these sites include:
- Lack of photos
- Poor English use
- Lots of grammar and spelling errors on their profiles and messages
They also might ask for money early to help with a crisis, or are never be able to meet because they are always traveling or don’t have any knowledge of the area you live in.
Love is hard enough without having to worry about scammers and online threats. If you think you might have been a victim of online scam, you can report it here:
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center