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Love & Scams: How to Not Fall Victim this Valentine’s Day

Web posted February 12, 2019
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and romance, but for con artists, it is just another holiday to for them to get the best of your emotions and take your money. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) wants to get the word out about the way scammers try to trick people who are out to make a loved one’s February 14th special.

Flower Fails
Fake online flower shops are a favorite of scammers leading up to Valentine’s Day since they know a significant amount of money is spent on bouquets each year.

Tips to ensure the flowers you order will be delivered:
• Research before buying - You can find trustworthy flower shops and read customer reviews on them at bbb.org.

• Make sure the shop exists – Even if you plan to order online, call or visit the shop first to discuss the arrangement and to make sure it’s a real business. Also, be sure to ask about guarantees and delivery times. Don’t make a payment until your order is clearly outlined and always ask for a receipt.

• Watch for unsolicited calls and emails – Phishing scams spike this time of year for those looking to treat loved ones with gifts. Unsolicited emails claiming to require additional fees for gift delivery are common but not legitimate. If you receive an ecard, use caution before clicking on a link because fake cards can carry viruses.

Cupid Cons
The internet makes it easy to connect people through online dating sites and social media, but with that convenience comes opportunities for scammers. There is a common narrative to these types of scams, and it starts with a con artist making a fake online profile using someone else’s photos. The person claims to be overseas or in the military, which is why you can’t ever meet them. Once the relationship gets serious, the scammer will claim to have a health issue or family emergency and ask for money. Once they get the money they asked for, the con cuts off contact, Red flags to help protect your heart and wallet:

• Their social media accounts don’t match, are very new or disappear quickly

• Your new friend is a constant no-show or avoids even setting up times to meet

• They stress the importance of trust and tell you they love you right away

The mission of BBB is to promote, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill public confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, protect and assist the public. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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