Anchorage, Alaska – Feb. 10, 2016 – Scammers are looking to break hearts this Valentine’s Day. With an uptick in online dating, flower sales and weekend getaway deals —there’s a number of ways to get cheated. Better Business Bureau Northwest is warning of slick deals that could steal one’s identity, cost them money and even break their heart.
The BBB Scam Tracker has reports of online dating sites that have tricked customers out of substantial amounts of money. In 2014 the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received numerous complaints regarding online romance scams. The IC3 reports that women over the age of 40 are more susceptible to online dating scams.
Before making plans for Valentine’s Day, BBB suggests consumers consider these important tips:
- Research florists: When shopping for flowers and gifts online take time to research the company. When placing an order online look for the “s” in “https://” to guarantee privacy measures are in place. Be wary of websites offering cheap flower arrangements. The finished product might not be as grand as advertised. To help combat scammers, consider shopping from a BBB Accredited Retail Florist.
- Trip for two: Keep an eye out for deceptive vacation packages that may harbor hidden fees. Be sure to read the fine print before booking a trip and read up on cancellation policies. Also, it’s best to avoid travel deals pitched over the phone or from company’s who do not disclose their name, location and contacts. When looking for assistance planning a trip consider booking with a BBB Accredited Travel Agency.
- Avoid being ‘catfished’: Take a close look at your online love’s profile photo. Does it look too professional? Are there any candid photographs of them? Scammers often use stolen photos to trick love seekers. To make sure someone is who they say they are ask for candid photographs or to meet via webcam. Play it safe when looking for love by checking out BBB Accredited Matchmaking Sites.
Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager: 907-644-5208 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Quinlan, Vice President of Marketing: 206-676-4119