As people in a relationship are looking for something special to give to their significant other, scammers are on the lookout to drain their bank accounts. While many people are online shopping for gifts due to the coronavirus pandemic, scammers know that all it takes to get their hands on customers’ money is to create online fake stores that look legit. These shops pass off as real and even come up on Google searches when customers search for Valentine’s Day gifts. Because of this, we wanted to cover how to detect Valentine’s Day online shopping scams and how to avoid them.
How to Detect Valentine’s Day Online Shopping Scams
- These stores can pretend to be anything, ranging from online fake flower boutiques to a fake gift shop, and can even go as far as to pretend to be a fake candy shop.
- As people try to purchase items from these fake online shops, the payment page requests that they pay via wire transfer, a gift card code, or a debit card. Scammers then use this information to steal your funds and never send you the item you “bought.”
- Gift cards and wire transfer payments are a sign that the website you are purchasing your items from is a scam. Only scammers will want these methods of payment because if you were to ask for your money back, it would be left untraceable, making it harder to get your money back from scammers.
- Sometimes, the form will even require you to fill out your personal information, which scammers can use to commit identity theft against your name.
- Notice any grammatical errors on the website? That’s usually because English isn’t usually a scammer’s first language. This means that if there are spelling errors or grammatical errors within their listings, then a scammer probably made that website.
- There might be times where you don’t see a customer service section on a website, or they don’t have a phone number to call customer service. This usually indicates that this is a fake website since most legit websites have a customer service team that can answer any questions you might have about your purchase. Sometimes, scammers will use fake email addresses as a customer support email to look more legit and will make up answers to questions that customers have.
- If there are no tracking emails after a purchase is made, then this is a major red flag that you might have been involved in a scam.
- If your malware program is notifying you that there is malware on your device after making a purchase, then there’s a chance you were on a scam website.
How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Online Shopping Scams
- Don’t provide your personal and financial information to websites you are not familiar with.
- Do your research on the online store you are on before making a purchase.
- If possible, only make purchases on websites you are familiar with.
- Be wary if you notice any grammatical errors on the website you are on.
- Don’t make any purchases on the website if they are asking you to pay via wire transfer or gift card.
- Don’t make purchases on the website if you can not contact a customer representative by phone right away.
- If you don’t receive a tracking email of any kind after making a purchase, or the tracking email looks suspicious, report the suspected scam to the FTC and contact law enforcement.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of Valentine’s Day online shopping scams.
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