AARP wants to make sure that L-O-V-E is the only thing in the air this Valentine’s Day! Unfortunately, cupid isn’t the only one taking aim at you. Scammers and con artists take advantage of people who are looking for love.
Here are some things to look out for so you can stay safe and enjoy your special day:
1. You’ve Got Mail
While receiving an e-card may seem sweet and legitimate, it also could be a trap and a source of phishing for scammers. These emails may appear to be from someone you know, but look out for strange links or subject lines. Behind that e-card can be a malware that can affect your computer and also be sent to others in your address book.
Tip: Don’t click on any suspicious looking links. If you know the sender, call them first and ask them if they sent you a gift. You can also call the vendor or search their business online to see if they are the real deal.
2. Fake Flowers & Gifts
Flowers, candy, gifts, oh my! Everyone loves finding a bargain price on a gift for their special someone. However, some of these websites that appear to have great sales may be a scam and can steal your credit card or personal information.
Tip: Look out for websites that have weird ends to the web address. If you are still not sure, there are plenty of secure website checkers online that will let you know if the site is real or not. Do a search online for local florists, read their reviews online and call them first to see if they are legit. Don’t order from them online until you can confirm they are a reputable site.
3. Sweetheart Scam or Catfishing
Dating apps and meeting people online has become the norm today but dating scams are also on the rise! Con artists create fake accounts with the pure intention of scamming you. Be wary of any requests from someone who seems to be moving fast, shares a “sob story”, doesn’t want to meet in-person and asks for money.
Tip: Don’t share any personal information and do your homework. Use the internet to do a search of the person’s name, phone number, email address and even profile pic! There have been many cases of catfishing where people have lost thousands of dollars, so save yourself the trouble and be cautious.
Remember with any scam: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” You can help keep people safe by reporting any scams to the AARP FraudWatch Network