BBB's Valentine's e-card, flowers warning

February 10, 2009 9:52:10 AM PST
(News Release) New-fangled and old-fashioned showings of love can instead cause grief this Valentine's Day, so consumers are urged to use caution when opening electronic cards or sending flowers.People are expected to send millions of electronic Valentine's Day cards this year. If you unexpectedly receive an electronic greeting card (e-card), be careful. Instead of carrying words of love, it might contain the Storm Worm computer virus. Sending flowers also is popular way to show affection. However, as the ordering moves farther away from the local florist, make sure you know exactly the flowers and costs for the arrangement you are ordering.

"Unexpected emails are often the culprits that spread computer viruses," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Suspicious emails often direct the recipient to click on a link to retrieve an e-card. Once the user clicks on the link, a virus is downloaded to the computer or mobile device and it becomes infected."

Buying flowers online and over the phone also can be a source of problems.

"Carefully review the description of the floral arrangement or any other gift you are purchasing on the Web site or in your conversation with the florist or salesperson," Bernas stated. "Make sure that your order is clear and detailed. Review the guarantee on the site or from the retailer. This will help alleviate you concerns regarding about quality or delivery."

Pay careful attention to options offered such as size of arrangement, color of flowers, color of vase, delivery in a box or vase, and inclusion of an enclosure or gift card. Note that all the options mentioned may not be available on all sites or may involve additional charges. While you think you're ordering from a local florist, you may actually be on the phone with someone hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The BBB offers the following tips on how to survive this Valentine's Day:

  • Be wary of any email received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited email and do not click on any links provided. Fake e-cards coming from scammers/hackers may send you an infected card or send you to a link where you are going to compromise your computer's safety.
  • Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, chocolates or any other gifts for Valentine's Day check out the company's Reliability Report on bbb.org in order to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service.
  • Allow time for shipping. Check with the retailer or check the Web site to make sure that you have allowed enough time for delivery by your specified date. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.
  • For more trustworthy information on shopping with companies you can trust go to bbb.org


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