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Valentine’s Day scams: A steady tug on the heartstrings, while draining your bank account

Better Business Bureau alerts consumers to Valentine-related scams.
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Posted at 7:54 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 08:58:07-05

WACO, Texas — The bright red of roses, the sweet taste of candy, maybe an enormous stuffed teddy bear? Most of us have something similar in mind when we think of Valentines' Day.

"It's going to be about $24 billion that people spend on Valentine's Day, which is a lot," said Amy Rasor, the Forth Worth Regional Director with the Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas.

A lot of money usually means a lot of scammers, and there are several Valentines-related scams that the Better Business Bureau wants consumers to be wary of.

Scammers plan on consumers feeling the urgency of the holiday when they spend — luring us in with websites advertising expensive items like jewelry at extremely low prices.

For consumers, this should be a red flag, said Rasor.

"They're trying to get you to bite," Rasor said.

Or with social media accounts of an online florist promising to fill last-minute orders.

"Make sure you see what other customers are saying,"Rasor said. "Are they getting their delivery at all? Are they getting what they expected? Is the quality, what they expected?"

But perhaps the scam most worth mentioning is the one least talked about, romance scams.

"It happens a lot more than people think it does," Rasor said. "And the reason we don't hear about it more often is that people are embarrassed when it happens to them."

According to Rasor, losses can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the scam can extend for long periods.

Scammers use a fake identity in the world of online dating, either gaining our trust by impersonating those in society we revere, like the elderly or military service member.

"They're spending a lot of time building that relationship with you, and they're going to have reasons that they can't meet you in person," Rasor said. "They may say their stationed oversaeas, or their may be COVID-related reasons."

It's a steady pull on the heartstrings and drains on your bank account.

Rasor said scammers sprinkle fake tragedy or hardship in their request for your money.

"It will be small asks at first and then it keeps adding up," Rasor explained.

But there are things you can do to prevent the scam from happening.

"Take a few steps back," Rasor said. "Really dedicate yourself to learning as much as you can about the person. Be skeptical, do your research, and most importantly, verify."

Also, be patient — scammers count on consumers feeling a sense of urgency because of the holiday. Avoid making any impulsive decisions when purchasing or dating this year.

For more information on what you should be on the lookout for from scammers on Valentines Day, visit here. To report a scam to the Better Business Bureau or view reports from other victims, visit the BBB Scam Tracker here.