Valentine's Day is a time for romance and roses, but it can also be a time when scammers take advantage of your emotions.
The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about Valentine's Day scams.
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Below are the BBB's top scams to watch out for:
"New twists to Romance Scams: Photo extortion controversies are not just impacting high level public figures. One new trend includes Romance Scammers trying to extort money out of victims after convincing them to start sending revealing or controversial photos, and then threatening to send and share the photos on the internet. The person behind the fake profiles may start the photo exchange, but they have nothing to lose as they are using stolen identities and often part of an overseas operation. Scammers continue to lure victims into conversations away from traditional platforms and on social apps like KIK to broaden their reach into younger demographics. BBB continues to report Millennials as the #1 demographic victimized by scams.
Delivery Scams - Phishing
Consumers receive an email warning that the gift or flower orders are unable to be delivered because of a problem with a credit card. The email has a link that directs consumers to a spoof site where they are asked to re-enter their credit card information.
Pop Up Ads or Social Media with Last Minute "Special" Offers - Discounts
Don't be tempted to click on pop up ads with amazing deals on Valentine's Day related gifts and flowers. These ads can often be fake ads designed to steal money of personal information, or substandard businesses that offer little to no recourse when shipments do not meet expectations or arrive after the holiday.
Social Media Scams:
Beware of any "free" love giveaways such as flowers, perfumes or vacations. The "free" giveaways take consumers to a third party site where personal information can be compromised.
If consumers receive an instant message inviting them to become involved in a romantic online chat, think again. The "Flirt-bot" is a great example of an automated chat program that works with an instant messaging site, trying to get victims to share information about themselves, then directs them to a site where they are asked for a credit card to prove the person is over 18.
An email from "a friend" links to an online greeting card but when the individual attempts to download the card, malware is installed on their PC and personal information is compromised. If you receive a Valentine's Day e-card, check with the sender before you click on the link
BBB TIPS for top Valentines Day Scams.
-Romance scammers typically have a variety of reasons never to meet up with you including being in the Military or jobs involving heavy travels
-Never send money or personal information to anyone you don't know on a longer term in-person relationship.
-Always check out the company behind a pop up ad. BBB.org offers ratings and reviews on most companies.
-Never open e-cards until you verify with the sender
-Phishing calls and texts to cell phones are on the rise in 2019. Never respond to unknown texts. Let unknown callers leave a voicemail"
For more information, visit www.bbb.org/chicago.
BBB: Top Valentine's Day scams
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