Home > Identity Theft > 4 Mother’s Day Scams You Want to Avoid

Comments 0 Comments

Did you know that with the exception of Christmas, people spend more money on Mother’s Day than any other holiday? The forecast for 2017 is $23.6 billion, and if you think scammers aren’t on the job, there’s a new marshmallow bridge spanning Loon Lake I’d to sell you a piece of.

In order, the most-gifted recipients of Mother’s Day sentimental swag are mothers and stepmothers, then wives, daughters, sisters or stepsisters, grandmothers, godmothers, and, for the overzealous beyond that familial range — friends.

Here are four scams you’ll want to avoid while you’re shopping.

1. Greeting Cards

These days, paper greeting cards cost anywhere from 50 cents to $8, but the average cost of a festive snail-mail missive is between $4 and $5. This explains the huge uptick in e-cards’ popularity. They are more environmentally friendly and cost nothing. Sounds like a win-win, right? Not exactly. This method of transmitting heartfelt sentiment — as with all new technology — has the potential to create a massive headache for the mothers in your life who have something coming to them.

Specifically, the problem with e-cards is that they open the door to fake e-cards. Most people on social media accept friend requests from strangers, and once those strangers are welcomed into the fold, they are allowed as friends to see friends of their new friends. They can figure out who among your relatives has kids, and send them a fake e-card in your name — one carrying malware that can steal the recipient’s identity or wreak havoc in cyberspace. One click can install a keystroke logger that turns any electronic device into a transmitter of login information (endangering every account, especially finances), rope devices into botnets that distribute spam or launch distributed denial of service attacks on major websites.

Remember the rule: Never trust, always verify. Ask the person who sent you the e-card, in a separate email, if they sent a card. Don’t click through without a response, because there is no way to know the URL and determine if it’s legitimate.

If you’ve fallen for this, be sure to check your credit for signs of mischief. You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. And, if you need to up your digital savvy, here are four tips for internet safety.

2. Fake Flowers

Nothing brightens a mother’s day more than a beautiful bouquet. If you are ordering online, make sure the URL matches the shop’s website if you clicked through from anything other than your own search results. Call the shop to make sure they are the real deal.

Another favorite ruse dating back some time: Selling fake coupons from stores that promise monthly or weekly flower delivery. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is. Either work with a florist you know or find one near the recipient and conduct business with them directly.

3. More Fake Coupons

Fake coupons for saving are making the rounds again this year, most recently on Facebook, where people have been tempted by a $50 coupon redeemable at Lowe’s Home Improvement. If you click through, you’ll be asked to take a survey that solicits personal information and to post the offer on your Facebook timeline. Needless to say, the coupon is worthless.

“These coupons are not offers extended by Lowe’s,” the company wrote in response to customer questions on its Facebook page. “It is a scam and Lowe’s is unable to honor the coupon.”

Likewise, you should avoid a similar $75 coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond also making the rounds on social media. It’s a classic phishing scheme. When victims click on the link, they land on a fraudulent site that looks like the real thing, where consumers are prompted to enter sensitive personal information as well as their credit card number.

Bed Bath & Beyond similarly warned consumers that the coupons were fraudulent.

“We are sorry for any confusion and disappointment this fake coupon has caused,” it wrote on its Facemaiebook page. “We are partnering with Facebook to have these coupons removed. Thank you for your understanding!”

Facebook did not immediately respond to request to comment.

Caution should be used when it comes to any coupons, be they for a restaurant, an all-inclusive spa day or an in-home massage. It’s always best to call a favorite spot and make arrangements. There are plenty of crooks out there willing to represent those places to steal your personal or payment information.

4. Gift Cards



A whopping $46 billion was spent on gift cards last year, and numbers like that always attract scam artists. How it works: The scammer goes to the in-store sales rack and writes down the numbers on gift cards. They then call the customer service departments identified on the back of the cards to see if (and when) they have been activated. Like tax-related fraud, this scam succeeds or fails depending on how fast a transaction occurs, so if you get a gift card, it’s always best to use it as soon as you can. Otherwise, you may find it’s already been cashed in.

Finally, beware of third-party sites selling discounted gift cards. While some gift card resale sites are legitimate and offer buyer protections, not all do and open marketplaces that don’t specialize in this type of sale can be particularly susceptible to fraudsters. That’s why I recommend always going to the official financial service or retailer’s website to purchase gift cards.

While it sure feels like there are more scams out there than mothers, it only takes one who “has your number” (or email) to turn Mother’s Day into a real mutha, so be careful.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

Image: Eva-Katalin

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team