Don’t Let Scams Ruin Mom’s Big Day

May 6th · 4 min read

Mother’s day is approaching, and along with it, retailers are promoting exclusive discounts to celebrate mothers around the world. This also offers opportunities for cybercriminals to commit scams and profit off of others. These con artists don’t just limit themselves to impersonating retailers. They also go as low as to charm single mothers looking for love, among many other scams.

Let’s take a look at some of the scams you might encounter as Mother’s Day approaches.

Scam ads

Scam ads are a favorite among scam artists. Advertisements are everywhere and they’re repurposed for every occasion from Christmas and Black Friday to that ultra exciting Presidents Day mattress sale commercial on tv. So, what types of scam ads do you have to look forward to for Mother’s Day? Scam advertisements are most often shared through social media and messaging apps. Often, you’ll find them distributed from hacked accounts. When you click on a fraudulent ad, you’ll be taken to a website that offers fake or non-existent goods.

There are a few possible outcomes when this occurs. At worst, malware will infect your computer, which causes all sorts or problems from theft of your personal information, Identity theft, and more. At best, you might receive your order, but it’s unlikely to be authentic or of the quality you expected. Keep an eye out for anything that seems to be too good to be true, such as unrealistic bargain pricing (you won't get that Gucci bag for $99), spelling mistakes, or suspicious surveys.

You can avoid most of these scams by using browser protection tools to block these malicious websites.

Flower Scams

Mother’s Day is the 2nd highest sales day for your local florist. Because of this, it’s important to choose wisely and find someone you can trust with your order. Take the time to research companies ahead of time. Do you see numerous complaints of late orders, wrong orders, or orders never received? If so, you may want to explore other options.

When sending flowers to someone in another city, it might be tempting to use a nationwide flower delivery service, but you’re best off placing orders directly with a florist located in or near your mother’s home. Make sure you have enough time for delivery, ask about all fees associated with your order and make sure the date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. Fake shopping websites.

Cybercriminals aim to take advantage of any and all opportunities to entice future victims. Fake retail websites are perfect for these purposes. They usually assume the guise of respectable e-commerce sites that have opened a different website to house their new promotion; Mother's Day, which is observed all over the world, is a prime candidate. These fake e-commerce sites promote gifts aimed toward mothers around Mother's Day. To persuade future victims to purchase, they offer these products at "too good to be true" price points.

If you go through with the purchase, your payment credentials will likely be stolen. The scam artists will begin charging your account for purchases you didn't authorize. Do your due diligence and thoroughly inspect the store, look for seller feedback, determine how long the site has been active, and make sure that you have browser protection enabled to block websites known to be run by scam artists.

Bogus gift cards and coupons

Another popular way scammers lure potential scam victims is by offering bogus gift cards and coupons. These are fairly common, and they are often distributed using the unsuspecting victim's computer. When you click on a phony coupon, a malware installer is downloaded to your device; in some situations, the malware turns out to be a banking trojan or even a keylogger. Another feature of the malware is the ability to deliver the coupon to the entire contact list, raising the scammers' chances of successfully distributing the scam.

Not long ago, McDonald's coupons were the target of one such attack. When it comes to coupons or gift cards, make sure they are delivered via the company's official platforms, such as the official app, an email directly from the company, or verified social media account (indicated by a blue checkmark). If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a coupon, search the company's official website or social media accounts. If you see any deals on 3rd party websites not affiliated with the company, it's safest to ignore them.

Romance scams

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, dating apps and websites are experiencing an increase in usage, which may also translate into increased exposure to scammers. If you think it can’t happen to you or your loved ones, you’d be sorely mistaken. Romance and confidence fraud is the second costliest scam, according to the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report. To put that into more quantifiable terms, one woman was duped out of US$546,000 while another one ended up becoming an unwitting drug mule and was arrested.

There are usually telltale signs that your mother may be conversing with a scam artist. A fast Google image search may show that their profile picture belongs to someone else, or they may attempt to convince your mother to abandon the dating site after just a few texts (to avoid the platform screening for suspicious behavior). Whatever the case might be, it never hurts to be extra cautious and double-check the suitor; no one wants their heart (or their bank account) to be broken.

Final thoughts

While most of us are looking for the best deals, we should always be cautious and scrutinize any deal that seems to be too good to be true, because it almost always is. When you get unsolicited offers or emails that seem attractive, read them carefully and watch for inconsistencies. If you have any doubts, order directly from the retailer. Last but not least, make sure you have a reputable browser protection enabled, so that scam websites are blocked and you're alerted when visiting a website created too recently to be trusted.

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