Mother’s Day 2013 is May 12, so today’s episode of Scambook TV is all about protecting your Mom from holiday scams. Scammers love to exploit holiday hype and Mother’s Day is no different. Fraudsters know you’re searching for Mother’s Day gifts, e-cards, flower delivery services and other special discounts for Mother’s Day activities. They may take advantage of your holiday shopping interests with fake online stores, e-card phishing and fraudulent coupons. Luckily, Kevan’s here to explain these scams and help you and your dear ol’ Mom avoid them.
Mother’s Day Scam #1: Bogus online stores
On Scambook, we’ve heard from hundreds of consumers who have fallen victim to bogus online stores. These websites sell everything Mom would love, from jewelry to designer fashion to shoes, at bargain bin prices.
Unfortunately, the hot deals are often too good to be true — many of these online retailers will take your money, but they’ll never deliver the goods.
(For more information, check out our video SCAM ALERT: Fake Online Shoe Stores Offer Incredible Deals But Deliver Sponges)
To avoid this scam, stick to online retailers you trust. If you can’t find that perfect Mother’s Day gift on Amazon or another site where you’ve shopped before, make sure you look them up on Scambook first.
We also suggest paying with a prepaid credit card. Then, if a suspicious website does turn out to be bogus, you won’t have to cancel your entire credit card account.
Mother’s Day Scam #2: e-Card Phishing
Phony holiday e-cards are a popular tool for cyber criminals. Hackers embed e-cards with viruses or other malware designed to infect Mom’s computer or steal her personal information. It’s a sneaky scam — the e-card email may appear perfectly innocent, but if the recipient clicks a link or downloads the attachment, the cyber scammer can take control.
To make sure your Mom doesn’t fall for this phishing scam, send her a real card and tell her not to open any e-cards that arrive in her email. Also, make sure her computer has a secure Internet browser and the latest anti-virus software.
Mother’s Day Scam #3: Fraudulent flower discounts and brunch coupons
Scammers also take advantage of holidays with bogus discounts. They may create coupon websites that will install viruses on your computer when you try to download the discount, or sell fraudulent vouchers.
For Mother’s Day, be on the lookout for fake flower scams and bogus brunch coupons.
We read about one Mother’s Day coupon scam that sold vouchers for a year-round flower delivery. Sadly, the deal wasn’t redeemable with any actual florists.
Other flower scams followed the traditional bait-and-switch model. Customers bought a special deal online, but the prices had changed dramatically when they tried to use the discount.
You can reduce your risk of a coupon scam by doing your research ahead of time. We also recommend staying local. Do business with a florist in your town and call them on the phone to confirm prices.
If you’re thinking about buying coupons for a restaurant, call the restaurant first to confirm that they’ll accept the offer.
Share Your Mother’s Day Stories
Have you ever been scammed on Mother’s Day? What are your favorite activities to do with Mom? Tell us what you think in the comments.