BBB tip: Don’t let scams ruin Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is near and is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, a fact that does not go unnoticed by scammers. Whether you purchase flowers, jewelry, or gift cards the Better Business Bureau warns consumers to shop smart.

According to the National Retail Federation, this year, a near record $33.4 billion will be spent with an average of $254 for gifts and celebrations.

“Finding the perfect gift brings on the pressure, but shoppers should not let their guard down,” said Steve J. Bernas, BBB president and CEO. “That’s especially true while shopping online.”

Consumers need to watch out for bogus online flower shops and jewelry stores, fake gift cards and Mother’s Day E-cards.

The BBB recommends the following when selecting Mother’s Day gifts in-store or online:

• Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, jewelry or any other gifts for Mother’s Day, check out the company’s BBB profile at This is a great way to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service. Shopping online — use websites/retailers that you know.

• 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.

• Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen. When you visit a company’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 don’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 you’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 store’s guarantee. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory. It’s best to use a credit card when ordering online, because you can dispute charges if the vendor doesn’t come through.

• 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 to help them make sure your mom gets what you expect.

If you encounter a scam, even if you don’t lose money, report it to the BBB Scamtracker to help alert others and protect your community. Look for the BBB seal, The Sign of a Better Business. Visit or follow us @ChicagoBBB on social media.

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