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Valentine's Day scams hit the internet

Fake flowers, dating profiles among most common scams

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SAN ANTONIO – As Valentine's Day approaches, experts are warning against online scams hitting the internet this year that can quickly turn to heartbreak for many.

Jarrod Wise, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau, says one of the most common scams is phony florists who promise a deal, then don't deliver.

"The biggest thing with ordering flowers is making sure you're ordering from a legitimate site, and it's potentially not a scam site, or a site that's just out there that you haven't ever seen before," Wise said.

William Garza, longtime San Antonio florist and owner of Uptown Flowers, agrees.  

Garza said another problem arises when customers order online, and then receive a bouquet that was not as described. Researching a florist and reading their reviews before ordering, Garza said, can put a customer's mind at ease.

"We have our own website to order locally, so you get to see the pictures of the actual arrangements, and the pricing," Garza said.

Aside from bogus bouquets, other online scams, like ads, sales, and links, can lurk on social media and your inbox.

"You have to be careful because some of those links are malicious," Wise said. "So it could download information from your computer, your personal information, or it could a virus on your computer as well, and it could crash your system."

And perhaps the most heartbreaking scam this Valentine's Day are dating profiles set up to lure lovers -- and their money.

For years, websites like romancescam.com have been dedicated to fighting it.

"If anyone asks you for money in an online relationship without meeting face-to-face with that person, even if it's two Americans, one to the other, that's a scam," said Kathy, with romancescam.com, during a 2012 interview.

The website also features profiles of phony accounts, to warn users who come into contact with those scammers.


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