Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year! However, scammers love to break their victims’ hearts and ruin this special day by coming up with scams during this holiday. They come up with fake online stores that supposedly sell romantic gifts for Valentine’s Day, along with phishing emails that advertise these fake stores. There are also romance scammers that take advantage of this holiday by forming fake relationships with people who are in need of a Valentine. These are the different Valentine’s Day scams to watch out for and how to avoid them.
Valentine’s Day Scams to Watch Out For
Scammers create phishing links and send them to victims via email or messaging. When the victims receive these messages, they seem legit and are tempted to click on the link sent to them. Once they click the link, they are directed to a fake website that looks legit.
This website usually features fake products that are for sale, as well as forms that steal victims’ information. Once the victim fills out the form or purchases something on the fake website, the scammer commits identity theft with their information and drains their bank account.
Online Shopping Scams/ Fake Florist Scams
Scammers create fake online stores that are advertised via phishing links, which are explained above. Once you click on the phishing link, you are then directed to a fake online store with fake products to purchase. Once the victim clicks on an item they want to purchase, they usually see a too-good-to-be-true price that intrigues them.
They feel like they need to purchase that product from that website due to the price, so they fill out an online shopping form. They give the website their personal information and financial information, then press submit. However, they never receive a confirmation email or the product that they ordered, and the scammer drains the victim’s bank account.
Scammers steal photos from social media influencers to catfish victims on online dating websites and social media platforms. Once a victim matches with them, the Nigerian romance scammer starts conversations with them to allow the victim to build trust with them. The scammer builds trust with them for a few months, making the victim fall in love with them.
Then, the romance scammer comes up with some emergency or reason as to why they need money for something. The victim believes the scammer and gives them the money they requested. However, the requests keep occurring, which leaves the victim’s bank account empty.
Greeting Card Scams
Scammers pretend to be a secret admirer or a loved one and email their victims a phishing link. The email seems legit looking and claims that the victim has a greeting card that needs to be opened up. Once the victim clicks on the link to view the greeting card, malware gets downloaded onto their device without the victim knowing.
There is also a form on the website that instructs the victim to enter their personal information in order to “verify that it’s actually them.” In some cases, there is also a section that asks the victim to pay a “small shipping fee” for a surprise gift that comes with the card.
How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Scams
- Don’t give anyone you met online or random websites access to your personal and financial information.
- Don’t click on random links that were sent to you via email or text messaging.
- Do your research before buying something on a website you are not familiar with.
- Video chat or meet the person you are talking to in person before starting a serious relationship with them.
- Contact your loved ones before opening up a greeting card from them to make sure they are the ones who sent it.
- Only buy your Valentine’s Day gifts from well-known stores and don’t wait until the last minute if you can help it!
- Report any scam you were a victim of to the FTC so that they have a chance to catch the scammer.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You Through Valentine’s Day Scams!
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 scams.