With the power of social media and internet retailing, it’s easier than ever to find the right gift for anyone on your list.
Mother’s Day is no exception; even the hardest to shop for mom can be delightfully surprised with a few quick online searches for the right item. Unfortunately, thieves come out in full force whenever there’s a gifting holiday coming up, and a few scams have already hit hard for Mother’s Day.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond has already had to issue the following statement surrounding a phony store coupon that has been circulating on Facebook:
“We all know some things are too good to be true! We are sorry for any confusion and disappointment this fake coupon has caused. We are partnering with Facebook to have these coupons removed. Thank you for your understanding!”
The post in question is a coupon for $75 off any purchase, but if the shopper takes special notice, the website on the coupon and the post isn’t Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It’s a spoofed site with a very similar name, close enough that the scammers hope their victims don’t take notice.
Another coupon has already circulated for $100 off your total purchase at Ross discount clothing stores. Again, like the above scam, the website isn’t for Ross stores, but rather a spoofed site that adds just a few more characters to the web address. You click on the site and are redirected to bogus ads, popup boxes, and surveys, all of which are trying to steal your information.
So how do you shop for Mom without becoming a victim of a scam? By being smart about where you shop, what you click, and who you trust.
Social media is a great source of shopping inspiration, but it can also be fraught with too-good-to-be-true deals. Be aware of the posts you’re seeing: are they genuine special offers from trusted brands, or are they flashy sidebar ads that lead to disappointment?
Also, if you’re looking for specials and discounts, there are really great, trustworthy websites and blogs that advertise special offers, but you have to do your homework. Find blogs that are powered by dedicated shoppers, who have a lot of subscribers and a history of spreading genuine information, and who rely on advertising—not money from the subscribers they manage to dupe into paying—to keep the lights on. If there’s a fee for you as the reader to get retailers’ coupons or learn about specific sales, it’s probably not legitimate.
As always, protect your identity at all costs. It’s typical to have to enter an email address or even make an account in order to use a specialty shopping and discount site, but if you have to enter more personal information or even payment information, then something’s not right. Don’t give Mom the gift of identity theft this year, and don’t become a victim yourself.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App.