Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, and if you are planning a last-minute gift for the moms in your life, be sure to make smart shopping decisions and avoid scams.
If you are ordering flowers or gifts online:
Stick to reputable online retailers. Research the company or website with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau to see if other consumers have had problems with the business.
Verify delivery dates and make sure you get a detailed description of what is ordered. For flower orders, the description should include the type of flowers, arrangement size, total cost, and message on the card.
Place your order on the company’s website; do not click on links in e-mails or social websites in order to protect yourself from possible malicious software (malware).
Make sure that up-to-date security software is installed on your computer.
Ensure that the website is secure. When entering any type of credit card or payment information, look for the "s" in the web address (https).
Be careful about making purchases from your smartphone or tablet. By entering credit card or debit card information on mobile devices, you may be putting personal information at risk.
Consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. When you pay by credit card, your transaction is protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act — a federal law that gives you the right to dispute unauthorized charges. If you use your debit card, you may not have the same protections.
If you are buying gifts at a store, check the store’s return policy before purchasing. Under Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, sellers must clearly disclose their return policies before purchases are made. Also, read the fine print in advertisements to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of a sale.
Beware of potential scams, such as an e-mail claiming to be from a flower company and saying the flowers you ordered will not be delivered unless you log in and re-enter credit card information. If you receive an e-mail that makes these claims, contact your florist directly, using a number you know to be legitimate, to see if a problem truly exists.
E-card scams are another concern during the holidays. In this scam, you receive a card that appears legitimate, but you are prompted to download new software that installs a virus on your computer. E-cards often have spelling errors and may not include the sender’s name in the subject line. Keep in mind that even if the card does contain the sender’s name and your name, it still could be a scam. When in doubt, don’t click on links in e-mails.
If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
or by calling 800-282-0515