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How Not to Get Screwed on Valentine's Day

Celebrate this Valentine's Day with your heart on your sleeve and your hand on your wallet.
Image: Valentine Red Roses
A big heart made of red roses is on display.Martin Meissner / AP, file

If you wear your heart on your sleeve this Valentine's Day, you should also keep your hand on your wallet.

The BBB and an AG's office are warning about relationship scams preying on the love-lorn this Valentine's Day. And consumer experts have advice for saving on that last-minute flower purchase.

Because with shoppers spending $18 billion on Valentine's Day this year, according to National Retail Federation estimates, there's plenty of money at play.

Here's how not to get screwed on V-Day:

Buy Flowers From a Local Florist

Try shopping with your local florist with good reviews instead of calling up one of the big national chains. Orders are farmed out to local shops anyway, so you can cut out the middleman. And flowers ordered online don't always look like their photos, says Consumer Reports.

Trying to get a bouquet to someone who doesn't live nearby? Simple. Call the local florist near them.

Don't Turn up Your Nose at the Supermarket

Supermarket flowers used to be a punchline, but quality has been increasing lately. Often you can get a perfectly good bouquet at your grocer for less than an online store or florist.

Related: Why Valentine's Gifts for Men Are Gaining Ground

Pro tip: Avoid the pre-made bouquets as they tend to wilt faster and be more padded, Apartment Therapy writes. Instead, create your own from the most beautiful and freshest flowers in the bins, even if they're not traditional roses.

Watch Out for "Sweetheart Scams"

The Better Business Bureau and one state attorney general are warning the public to be on the watch for scammers who prey on dating site users. These "catfishers" tend to get more aggressive around Valentine's Day because that's the day "when we all could be a little lonely,” Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear told WKRN.

The BBB gave an example of one Tennessee woman who lost money to a man she met on a Christian dating site.

“He really played the part of a sincere Christian, even calling me to pray with me over the phone before bedtime,” the victim told the BBB.

Beware Valentine Targeted Phishing

The BBB is also warning users to be wary of sketchy-looking Valentine's Day e-greetings that are nothing more than phishes in cupid's clothing.

One might ask you to "click on the hearts" for a "special Valentines' message."

"If you get a Valentine’s Day email from someone you don’t know, do not click on anything," warned the BBB.

"Don’t follow the link. A legitimate online greeting card site will give you a confirmation code so that you can look at the card without compromising your computer. You can hover your mouse over the link, without clicking, to see if there is a real address."

You might just avoid a blind date with malware.