While scam e-mails happen year-round, there are some particular tricks and schemes that seem to only come up around holidays focused on gift-giving. Mother’s Day, just a week and a half away—is a time of the year when scammers step up their game for easy pickings.
Bitdefender, an antivirus company, tracked a particular e-mail scam campaign that seems to target men specifically. The subject line of the e-mail helpfully reminds the sons and husbands of mothers to honor the day with flowers, and includes links that claim to be for discount florists. When the men click on the links, however, they are taken to a site offering a fabulous array of male-oriented gifts ranging from an Aston Martin to Pat Lafrieda burgers.
However, the scam doesn’t stop there. If the unfortunate man is lured into purchasing one of the items, he will soon discover that not only will he not be receiving his gourmet burgers; he will shortly have difficulty purchasing anything. The whole website exists to mine the credit card and bank account information of those who have been fooled into “buying.”
This type of scam falls under the category of “phishing,” and it’s certainly one of the more interesting and thought-out methods in a category that usually sticks with year-round scams such as “your account has been compromised,” (which is quite ironic, considering), or so-called Nigerian Prince routines.
Of course, it’s not just the men who are targeted; other scams direct individuals to fake jewelry stores and fake online retailers, promising a discount and providing nothing more than a great deal of headache for the purchaser—who must attempt to get back the money stolen from them.
There are even scams that are set up to attack the unwary mothers out there. Another scam Bitdefender has seen involves phony e-card websites. The e-card was at one point an extremely popular way to send someone a cute, animated reminder that you were thinking of them; now, however, the majority of individuals don’t use the services anymore—so if you receive an e-card in general, it might be a good idea to approach with caution.
Some basic guidelines to avoiding these scams are to pay attention to what it is you’re opening. If you’re hearing about an online retailer for the first time by way of an e-mail, it’s probably a better idea to go with a retailer you recognize. At the very least, it is probably a good idea to search for the retailer and see if anyone has reviewed them—or outed them as a scam. If you receive a notification about an e-card, look at the subject line and sender, as well as looking at the body of the e-mail before clicking any links. E-card sites that are above-board will mention who’s sending you the card.
Most denizens of the Internet are familiar with the scam tactics that have existed for years. Ultimately, the best advice that can be given on the subject of avoiding scams is to ask yourself if what you’re being offered makes sense. And of course, the fail-safe in any occasion like this is to check when something seems even the slightest bit off.