Although for many of us, Mothers’ Day is an opportunity to show our mothers how much we love and appreciate them, for scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, it is yet another opportunity to scam people. One common Mothers’ Day scam involves an email that you get offering Mothers’ Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, shoes or clothing at tremendously discounted prices. All you need to do is to click on a link to order online. The problem is that many of these offers are indeed scams. If you click on the link, one of two things can happen and both are bad. Sometimes the link will take you to an order form where you provide your credit card information, but never get anything in return. Instead your credit card information is used to make you a victim of identity theft. Even worse is the other possibility which is by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information stored on your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft. Another Mothers’ Day scam involves e-cards which are great, particularly for those of us who forget to get a Mother’s Day card until the last minute. Again, however, identity thieves will send emails purporting to contain a link to an electronic Mothers’ Day card, but if Mom clicks on the link, she will download that dangerous keystroke logging malware that I just described.
It is always dangerous to buy anything online from any store or company with which you are not familiar. Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission or just on Google to see if the company is legitimate. Even then you are better going directly to the company rather than dealing with a company through an email that may just be a forgery of an email from a legitimate company. As always, if the offer you receive sounds too good to be true, it usually is. As for e-cards, never open an e card unless it specifically indicates who sent the card. Phony e cards will not indicate the name of the sender. If the email card states that it is from “your son” or “your daughter,” don’t open it until you have confirmed with your child that they indeed did send that particular e-card. You can’t trust an e-card that indicates it comes from someone where only the first name is used because that too may be a scam. The best course of action is to always confirm with the purported sender that they have sent you an e-card before you open it.