CHICAGO, IL â€“ Motherâ€™s Day is near and is one of the busiest shopping days for consumers; a fact that does not go un-noticed by scammers. Whether you purchase flowers, jewelry or gift cards the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to shop smart.
â€œBeing just a few days away the pressure is on to find the perfect gift, but shoppers should not let their guard down,â€ said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. â€œThatâ€™s especially true while shopping online.â€
Consumers need to watch out for bogus online flower shops and jewelry stores, fake gift cards and Motherâ€™s Day E-cards.
The BBB recommends the following when selecting Motherâ€™s Day gifts in-store or online:
- Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, jewelry or any other gifts for Motherâ€™s Day, check out the companyâ€™s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. This is a great way to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service.
- Look for signs that online purchases are secure. At the point that you are providing your payment information, the beginning of the Web site address should change from http to shttp or https, indicating that the information is being encrypted â€“ turned into code that can only be read by the seller. Your browser may also signal that the information is secure with a symbol, such as a broken key that becomes whole or a padlock that closes. Without this assurance, do not enter any of your personal information.
- Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen. When you visit a companyâ€™s website, an unauthorized pop-up screen created by an identity thief could appear, with blanks for you to provide your personal information. Legitimate companies donâ€™t ask for personal information via pop-up screens. Install pop-up blocking software to avoid this type of scam.
- Keep documentation of your order. When youâ€™ve completed the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page and/or you might receive confirmation by email. Print or save that information and keep it handy in case you need it later.
- Have a back-up plan. Make sure you understand the storeâ€™s guarantee. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory. Itâ€™s best to use a credit card when ordering online, because you can dispute charges if the vendor doesnâ€™t come through.
- Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the retailer or website to be certain that you have allowed enough time for delivery. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping. Some florists offer discounts for deliveries a couple of days before a major holiday, since that helps them deal with the rush.
- Make sure the business has your information. When it comes to flower delivery, there are times when delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions. Making sure the florist has a call-back phone number or your cell phone to help them make sure your mom gets what you expect.