Scammers will try to take your money – even on Mother’s Day

Consumer Watch

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite the pandemic, Americans are planning on spending huge amounts of money on mom this year for her special day and much of it will be spent online.

Meanwhile, scammers are looking to grab as much of that money as they can by using online shopping scams.

According to Statistica Software, Americans will spend around $28 billion on Mother’s Day this year, up significantly from last year.

Criminals will use various social media platforms and email to try and grab some of that cash being spent on mom.

When it comes to online shopping, the Federal Trade Commission says $246 million was lost to criminals who used various online shopping scams.

The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker estimates over one-third of all scams involve online shopping.

In North Carolina, when Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia did a search for online scams using that website, he found the top five complaints that came up all involved online shopping.

Mallory Wojciechowski, the president of the BBB of Eastern NC, said the online scams vary.

Among the most common these days involve electronics.

“Those electronics ads you see with a pop-up that are priced hundreds of dollars less than you’re used to seeing – that’s a red flag,” she said.

When comes to so-called great deals in emails, check the sender.

A recent email sent to Sbraccia supposedly was for a Kohl’s reward.

Hovering, over the email address showed it was not from Kohl’s corporate IP address, but rather from some hijacked G-mail account.

Gift cards are great for mom, but beware of limits on them because some can only be redeemed in the store NOT online.

“Also check and see what happens if the company goes out of business,” said Wojciechowski.

Before you buy, make sure the websites you use is secure by checking to see if the proper safety features are in place.

“Look for the HTTP-S,’ said Wojciechowski. “That ‘S’ lets you know its a secure website so you can put in your information in it. You can also look for the lock icon in the URL.”

Flowers are the most purchased item for mom, but if you’re sending them via the internet, ask questions and get answers in writing.

“Ask, when will it be delivered? What are the total costs and fees?,” said Wojciechowski. “Get a receipt upon delivery so you’ll know the recipient has received it.”

To prevent being burned, always shop online with a credit card. The credit card company will dispute any charges for you and hopefully help you get your money back.

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