Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and many will be buying flowers, jewelry, chocolate and more for the object of their affection.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $18.2 billion on gifts and 27 percent will shop online. With all that spending scammers are sure to try and cash in.
Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas urges consumers to be clever consumers and shop online with care.
For this particular holiday, NRF estimates $4.3 billion will be spent on jewelry, $2 billion on flowers, $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates and $1 billion on greeting cards.
Shopping for Valentine’s Day is like most other things. The more you prepare, the more likely results will meet expectations.
BBB offers these tips to avoid falling victim to a Valentine’s Day scam:
Research the company and gift. Research the type of jewelry your loved one wants and educate yourself on the industry. A diamond’s value is based on the four C’s – cut, carat, clarity and color.
A piece of jewelry that is advertised as a great deal could just be a low-quality gem. Always research the business, whether it’s a jeweler or florist, at bbb.org for past customer experience.
Order early. Make sure you allow enough time for the gift to arrive. Read the businesses shipping policy or contact the business regarding order deadlines for the holiday.
Pay via credit card. If there is a problem with your delivery you can dispute the charges with your credit card company if you are unable to resolve it with the business. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL should start with https:// and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email until you receive the item and are satisfied.
Keep a clean machine. Going to unfamiliar websites or clicking on ads can cause problems to your computer. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software for machine safety. Also, check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet and smart phone.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker.