Did you know that in 2018, Valentine’s day scams are ranked number one of all reported consumer frauds? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the reported romance scams in 2018 totaled $143 million in losses. FTC further reported that Valentine’s Day frauds have been increasing since 2015 with the reported losses increasing four-fold. If this trend continues, it is expected that there will be more Valentine’s Day scams this year.

At PissedConsumer, we aim to protect customers from scams and other illegitimate business activities. Therefore, we have compiled this article to give you ideas and tips for Valentine's day gifts while protecting yourself from scams.

Tips on How to Choose the Best Valentine’s Day Gifts

Whether yours is a new relationship or you have been married for several years. It can be tricky to decide on a valentine’s gift. Here are some Valentine’s Day tips to help you decide:

1. Choose a gift that is appropriate for your type and level of relationship

For instance, if you have just started going out, a funny greeting card or some yellow roses with a few red roses would be more appropriate than gifting your partner lingerie or underwear.

2. Choose a gift that your significant other will like 

Don’t just buy something because you like it, ask yourself if the other person would like it.

3. Ensure that the gift is not only practical but also thoughtful

For instance, you could decide to get her a hair drier, or him a tool kit but write a greeting card to go with it.

4. Order early

The earlier you make your order, the higher the likelihood that it will be delivered on time.

5. Choose reliable providers

While there are no guarantees that you will be satisfied with the product or service you purchase, choosing a reliable provider increases your chances of receiving great service and/or products.

6. Consider the perishability of the item you want to buy

For instance, roses and other flowers are highly perishable. A good way to ensure that you receive them in time while maintaining their freshness is to buy cold roses or to order from a local florist.

7. Get something unique and thoughtful

Flowers, jewelry, and chocolate are some of the most common Valentine’s day gifts. While they are a good option, think of a gift that is unique to your relationship or to your partner.

8. Look at your partners Amazon wish list or Pinterest board

This way you can get ideas for what could be a great Valentine’s day gift for them.

9. Consider an activity or experience over a tangible gift

For instance, take a trip to the allocation you have both wanted to go to.

10. Make a DIY present

It could be anything from a DIY candle, photo frame, or custom-made bottles.

Ideas for the Best Valentine’s Day Gifts in 2020

In this section, we will look at some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for men and women separately.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

  • E.g. you could give her a bracelet, a pair of earrings, a necklace with the pendant engraved some romantic words or even a jewelry box; 
  • Dinner at her favorite restaurant; 
  • Wine; 
  • Chocolate or candy; 
  • Cake; 
  • Candles; 
  • A greeting card; 
  • Write her a love letter; 
  • A fill-in keepsake journal that you can fill in together; 
  • A romantic movie date; 
  • A bottle of her favorite perfume; 
  • A scarf; 
  • Romantic picnic; 
  • A trip to one of the places in her bucket list; 
  • Beauty equipment such as a hairdryer; 
  • Kitchen equipment if she likes to cook; 
  • Lingerie.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

  • Sporting gear such as running gear or fishing gear; 
  • A tool kit ranging from a grooming kit, power tools such as screwdrivers and nail guns, or a beard grooming kit; 
  • Beer or liquor set complete with glasses; 
  • Concert tickets or game tickets; 
  • Dinner at his favorite restaurant; 
  • A DIY picnic for you and him; 
  • A romantic movie; 
  • Books or magazine subscription to his favorite magazine; 
  • A trip to one of the places in his bucket list; 
  • A photo collage with some of your favorite phots together or your favorite photos of him.

Valentine’s Day Tips on How to Choose the Best Online Florists

When buying flowers online you can either order from a floral grower, a local florist or from online marketers and shippers. Most local florists offer personalized flower arrangements and are located in the location of the recipients. On the other hand, floral growers and online marketers ship unarranged flowers overnight. While the online marketers are cost-effective, they do not offer same-day delivery which means that the freshness of the flowers may be compromised.

When choosing an online florist to order from, there are various factors to consider. These include:

Customer service

Ensure that the florist has reliable customer support that is available24/7.

Transaction security

Ascertain that the florist’ payment gateway is secure.

Privacy

Ensure that the florist’s privacy policy protects your personal information and that they do not share it with third-party commercial entities.

Reasonableness

While on Valentine’s day the price of flowers may go up, it should still be reasonable. Compare prices with other online flower retailers to find out the going market price and also look out for discounts.

Credibility and reputation

Look at the company’s reviews on PissedConsumer and other review websites to find out what previous customers had to say about the business.

Valentine’s Day Tips on How to Choose Flowers and Bouquets

When choosing Valentine’s day flower bouquets or arrangement there are various factors to consider including:

Size of the bouquet

Do you want to express your sentiment in a simple way or in a grandiose way? For the former, choose a small bouquet while for the later a large bouquet will do.

Color and type of flowers

Your choice of color and type of Valentine’s Day flowers will depend on the recipient’s preference and the message you want to convey. For instance, while red roses say “I love you”, pink roses are a symbol of appreciation and yellow roses represent friendship. Purple orchids and hydrangea are also great Valentine’s day flowers.

Shape of the arrangement

Popular Valentine’s day flower shapes include round, cascading, crescent and symmetrical designs. If you need assistance, ask the florist to help you with designing your bouquets.

Decorations

Choose whether you want the flowers put in a vase or for the stems tied with a ribbon.

Valentine’s Day Scams

We looked at PissedConsumer reviews to identify the top Valentine’s Day fraud one may face this Valentine’s day. We then compiled the top Valentine’s Day scams to help you know what to look out for.

1. Valentine’s Day Delivery Scam

Delivery services are meant to offer customers convenience. However, as evidenced in the various PissedConsumer reviews, some delivery services are bogus. The mentioned Valentine’s day delivery scams involve flower delivery, jewelry delivery and delivery of edibles such as fruits, chocolate, and wine. The top Valentine’s day delivery scams complaints are in regard to the failure to deliver at all or delays in delivery. 

In the case of flower delivery scams, some customers reported that the flowers delivered were wilted or not as per the order. On PissedConsumer.com, flower delivery scams are mentioned in the Troy’s Florist reviews, AvasFlowers reviews, and ProFlowers reviews.

For example, in this Troy’s Florist review #1478424 the reviewer complained that she ordered premium flowers for her friend who had recently lost her job only to find out that Troy’s Florist did not deliver what she had ordered.

My sweet friend had just lost her job. She had been with the company for 28 years and was devastated. I ordered her some flowers to let her know i was thinking of her. I upgraded them to the "Premium" version. I asked her to send me a picture when they were delivered. No where NEAR what i ordered. Not a single Lilly in the entire arrangement. I chose the arrangement because it was yellow and sunny. Nope not even ONE yellow flower in the entire bunch. Just a bunch of sad looking carnations... i paid $100 for this…

Similarly, customers have complained about Shari’s Berries and Edible Arrangements delivery services. For example, in Shari’s Berries review #1472313 the customer reported that she ordered covered berries and chocolate pretzels for her son and husband but the strawberries that were delivered were not fresh and the pretzels were in pieces.

I ordered chocolate covered berries and chocolate pretzels for my son and husband and they were a mess, the strawberries were not fresh and the pretzels were in pieces. This disaster of an order cost me $70, $20 of it for delivery. I have tried calling customer service and the line is busy. Very disappointed…

There has also been a mention of Valentine’s Day jewelry delivery scams on PissedConsumer.com. Some companies associated with Valentine’s Day jewelry delivery scam include Pandora Jewellery and Kohls. Similarly, to the flower delivery scams, the top complaints are in regards to delivery delays or failure to deliver, as well as delivery of low-quality products.

2. Deceptive Advertising

Some times what is advertised is not what is delivered. For instance, in this Hostess Brands Milky Way Brownies review #854405, the customer reported that what was delivered was completely different from the product depicted on the box.

I recently purchased a box of hostess Milkyway brownies. The picture of the brownies on the box are flat out false advertising. Take a look at the pic comparing what's shown on the box compaired to what's actually inside. So disappointing!...

3. Catfishing

Valentine’s Day can be lonely for single people. However, single people need to be guarded against catfishers who may prey on their loneliness to defraud them of money. The catfisher maybe someone you recently started to interact with romantically. He/she may ask for financial favor and once they receive the money, they cut off communication. Catfishing is not only Valentine’s day scam, but a scam to look out of when starting a new romantic relationship especially online.

4. Surcharges

One way you can get scammed on Valentine’s day is you receive an unexpected delivery, but then you are asked to pay a small surcharge to secure the delivery. If you fall for the trap, you might swipe your credit card and the delivery person just get your credit card details.

5. Inbox Sales

Similar to the fake ecard scam, you may get great Valentine’s day deals or offers emails or inbox pop-up. Even though the email or message may look legit, it is likely that the pop-up could be malware that hackers use to collect your credit card information.

Tips on How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Scams

  1. If you receive any email or message from someone you do not recognize, do not open it.
  2. Do not make any extra payment for an unexpected delivery. Usually, if someone has made an order for you, they pay for it in full.
  3. To avoid being catfished, do not send money to someone you have been in a romantic relationship briefly, or if you have never met in person.
  4. Check sellers and online delivery service reviews to establish their credibility before ordering from them.
  5. Whenever possible, pick out Valentine’s gift yourself. It not only protects you from Valentine’s Day fraud but it may come across as romantic to your significant other.
  6. Send a physical card to your loved one instead of sending an ecard.
  7. When ordering flowers online, consider the shelf life of the flowers and ensure that the delivery day is as close to Valentine’s day as possible.

The first step in ensuring you get the best Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one while preventing being scammed is to do your due diligence on the prospective online business. Check the company’s reviews on various websites. Has the company been associated with any Valentine’s Day fraud? Do they deliver quality products and services? Also, compare the company’s services and prices with a few other similar businesses. We hope that with these Valentine’s Day tips, you can have peace of mind while celebrating love and your significant other.

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1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

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