Scammers never take a break. Believe it or not, we need to be aware of scams all year round- especially around the holidays. Valentine’s Day is a popular day for various scams, but with our tips and some forethought, you can outsmart the scammers.
What scams are popular on Valentine’s Day?
- Romance Scams- scammers contact people through social media and/or dating sites. Once they form a connection, they ask their victim for money (often for a surgery or for travel expenses to visit the victim)
- These scams can stretch over months as the scammer builds a relationship with the victim
- According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2018 alone romance scams rose to 21,400.
- People age 40-69 are more than twice as likely to fall victim of these scams than people in their 20s. People age 70 and over lose the most money overall- the median amount lost was $10,000.
- Florist Scams- scammers pretend to be florists and call, asking for personal information (e.g., credit card information)
- E-Card Scams- scammers send an e-card (an electronic greeting card) to their victim. When the victim opens the card, they are sent to a harmful website.
- Email Scams- scammers send emails mimicking emails you might be receiving for Valentine’s Day sales. When the victim clicks on the email/link, their computer may be infected with malware or they may be redirected to a counterfeit website.
- Click here for more information about common scams from the AARP.
Helpful Prevention Tips
- Look for red flags/unusual behavior (e.g., lots of excuses for why the person you’re talking with can’t visit in person, the person you’re talking to professes their love quickly, or they want to talk to you privately or off of the website where you met).
- Be careful with who you share your personal information with online.
- Don’t send money, gifts, or gift cards to someone you have not met in person.
- Talk to a trusted person if you’re unsure if something could be a scam.
- Only open emails from people and companies that you trust/have done business with in the past.
If you suspect you’re a victim of a scam
- Contact your bank immediately.
- File a complaint online through the Attorney General’s Office, FBI, or Federal Trade Commission (you can also call if you do not have access to a computer).
Important Phone Numbers
AARP Fraud Watch Network (877) 908-3360
Michigan Attorney General’s Office (877) 765-8388
Federal Trade Commission (888) 225-5322 or (877) 438-4338
Social Security (800) 269-0271