GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Better Business Bureau is reminding the public to be vigilant to avoid scams this Valentine’s Day.
“We wait until the last minute to do almost everything now. Before you may have gone into that jewelry store or gone into that flower shop to order early, and now it’s easy to kind of do that one click and have flowers delivered tomorrow… but we want people to be really careful about what they’re clicking on,” Katie Grevious, marketing and community relations manager, said.
When shopping for jewelry or flowers or joining an online dating website, consumers should be on the lookout for imposter websites. The BBB says scammers can use photos, sales and logos from official websites making the scam website look very similar to the official one.
To avoid imposed sites, the BBB recommends researching the seller, being cautious of products at extreme discounts and being wary of sellers asking for non-traditional or untraceable payments.
For more tips to spot fake websites, read the BBB’s guide to smart shopping online.
Another scam is the “wrong number” text messages. These messages appear to be from someone who texted the wrong number, but the text message is bait to lure you into a conversation to get your personal information.
To avoid these text messaging scams, the BBB recommends ignoring text messages from strangers, blocking numbers that appear to be from scammers and never give out your personal information to scammers.
“Even if they can’t trick you into giving them money…, they’re going to tip off their other scam friends that you’re likely going to respond and maybe respond to a different type of scam,” Grevious said.
Learn more about wrong-number texts and scam bots here.
For those experiencing heartbreak or another hardship, the BBB is warning about romance scams that target vulnerable people. These scammers take advantage of heartbreak to establish a connection and gain sympathy. Once you’re hooked, they begin pursuing their true goal, money.
“Falling victim to a romance scam can be particularly devastating. Victims can lose thousands of dollars, and they’re often left feeling heartbroken and betrayed because they really believed they’d found a good partner,” the BBB said in a press release.
Avoid romance scams by watching for relationships that move very fast, if they never meet in person and don’t give them money.
Read more about romance scams for safe online dating advice.
For anyone who thinks they may have been scammed, the BBB asks that you report your experience to the BBB Scam Tracker. for dating sites scams, users should also report suspicious activity to the platform.