How to Avoid Mother's Day Email Scams
Cards? Flowers? Not so much this Mother's Day.
CREDIT: Shutterstock: Juice Team
In theory, you know your mom better than anyone, so don't let a random email dictate what to buy her for Mother's Day. In addition to showcasing your sensitivity, choosing your own gift will let you avoid an email scam that could end with a stolen credit card number.
Mother's Day scammers start off with an email that reads: "Don't Forget Mother's Day - $19.99 Flowers." Clicking on the embedded links, however, will take dutiful sons and daughters (mostly sons, in this case) to a website chock full of manly items for sale, ranging from gourmet hamburgers to Aston Martins. Good luck actually buying any of these, though: The site is just a front to steal credit-card information via phishing attacks.
In particular, Bitdefender Labs (which ran the study on the scam email) pointed out that children could buy "Public Toilet Survival Kits" for their mothers. Nothing says "I love you, Mom" like a gag gift — especially one that, like the other links in the store, is nothing more than a tasteless phishing scam.
Men's interest gift sites are not the only fake stores set up for Mother's Day scams. Other popular choices include jewelry, shoes and designer clothing. Generally speaking, if you find out about a discount online store through a suspicious email, it's probably a scam. Ignore it and do some bargain hunting on a reputable site instead.
Moms themselves should be on the lookout for suspicious emails as well. E-card websites might have been cute and novel in the '90s, but nowadays, you're just as likely to receive random malware via email as a notification for an actual animated card.
If you see a Mother's Day card in your inbox, make sure you recognize the sender. The card creator's name will usually show up somewhere in the email as well. Failing that, a quick Google search is often enough to separate the scam card sites from the genuine chintzy article. [See also: 5 Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud]
Flowers seem to be a popular way to scam moms and their loyal children as well. One popular email scam sells a voucher for flowers not only on Mother's Day, but once a month for the rest of the year. That may sound great on digital paper, but no florist on Earth honors the agreement.
Scammers attempt similar bait-and-switch tactics with restaurant and store coupons: Buy a voucher via email and employ it at the establishment later. Once again, if the email looks dodgy (spelling errors, extremely generic wording and LOTS OF CAPS are dead giveaways), forget it (or call the business if you absolutely must know for certain).
Most people online can pick out obvious scams from a mile away, which is why scammers rely on appeals to emotion instead. Your love for Mom can cloud your judgment as Mother's Day approaches. Be sure to use all those skills she taught you and take too-good-to-be-true deals with a grain of salt instead.