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Flowers? What flowers? BBB of Central Virginia says watch out for scams

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and along with it is often the purchase of special gifts. Also, along with celebrating mother’s come the scammers.

“Mother’s Day to a scammer is just another event to mine for money,” said Barry N. Moore, President & CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia. “Criminals care nothing about your mother or you past how much can be stolen,” added Moore.

With the pandemic continuing to place restrictions on people gathering, the National Retail Federation survey shows families are still finding ways to celebrate. Many consumers are planning to spend more on Mother’s Day 2020 than in recent years. 

Online purchasing scams are identified as the third riskiest by BBB’s Annual Risk Report. Here are few suggestions to help avoid being ripped off: 

·         Shopping Online. Avoid suspicious websites and glossy pop-up ads. Make sure the website has the https:// and the ‘lock’ icon in the URL. Don’t click on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails. Pay with a credit card if possible. Understand return and refund policies. Read the fine print. BBB has more tips for online shopping.

·         Gift Cards and Certificates. Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before buying. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see that the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping as well as in-store use. Examine the card to make sure it’s not been tampered with. Before you buy a gift card, consider these additional tips.

      Flowers. Since Mother’s Day flower sales are the second highest sales period for local florists, it’s critically important to choose wisely who to trust with your order. Complaints filed with BBB about florists included flowers being late, wrong, or not delivered at all. It’s not uncommon for local flower shops to be affiliated with third-party florists, so ensure you know who will actually be delivering your flowers. Here are some tips for buying flowers.

·         Electronics. Whether you plan to buy Mom a new phone, tablet or other electronic device, make sure you leave it the original packaging. Many retailers require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges. Buy only from reputable dealers.

·         Guides, tours, classes. Art classes, wine tastings and cooking lessons are fun ways to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it’s important to get the details of these activities in writing. Be sure to clarify total costs and features, if there are reservations needed, if there are any restrictions, and special time requirements or cancellation fees.

·         Check state restrictions on dining options. Several states have different COVID-19 gathering restrictions in public areas and as well as restrictions for businesses such as restaurants. Before making plans, research your state.

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