Iowans in love are being warned — there are all sorts of Valentine’s Day scams that target people who’ve been hit by Cupid’s arrow. Jim Hegerty, with the Better Business Bureau, says one common rip-off is an e-mail message that appears to be from an on-line flower company.
Hegerty says, “There might be a snag with their flower delivery and in order to make sure the flowers are delivered on time and the way they were anticipated, they need to click onto a link where they’re going to be asked their credit card information, security code, all designed to get sensitive data from people.”
He says crooks send out those e-mails by the thousands hoping someone they reach may have actually bought flowers online. He says another big scam today targets Iowans who might send electronic greeting cards with emails that look just like they’re from Hallmark or American Greetings.
“If you get one of these e-mails, rather than responding to it, pick up the phone and call,” Hegerty says. “Don’t send an e-card through an e-mail that’s been sent to you. Log on and visit one of those legitimate, well-known sites.” Hegerty says catching these scammers is not an easy task.
“They operate using cell phones,” he says. “They execute this stuff through coffee shops. They are on the move and they’re not where you can find them. They’ve got a laptop and they’re moving.” Hegerty says another scam targets people who are looking for love. He says many people on dating sites just want your money.
“You might get somebody telling you they’re deployed,” he says. “There’s a lot of common interest. Then they let you know they’re short on funds, they can’t get home and they would like to come and meet you, could you send some money. You and I may think who would fall for that? The bottom line is, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there, a lot of lonely people. We just want to caution them that never, ever wire money to someone to try to get them to come and visit you.”
Learn more about these and other scams through the Iowa Better Business Bureau website: “iowa.bbb.org“.