RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN ) – You may not realize it, but Mother’s Day is one of the biggest retail events of the year, and when there’s lots of money involved scammers are ready to take advantage.

As we move closer to mom’s special day, Mother’s Day is probably on your mind – but it’s also on the minds of criminal scammers.

They aren’t hanging around waiting for you to act. They are actively trying to steal your cash.

It’s estimated Americans will spend $30 billion on Mother’s Day purchases this year and scammers want a piece of the pie.

“Online shopping is so prevalent now, it’s the first place people look, especially when getting gifts for your parents,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

One of the biggest Mother’s Day scams is the fake flower shop.

When you go to a brick-and-mortar florist, you know you are getting the real deal. However, scammers will set up fake online flowers shops that take your money but don’t deliver.

Here’s how it works.

They reel you in by offering a deal you can’t get anywhere else.

To safeguard yourself against these scammers, check the online florist to see:

  • If it has actual reviews
  • Has somebody you know ordered there before
  • How long has it been in business

Social media and the internet are prime grounds for fake Mother’s Day deals.

“Avoid suspicious websites with glossy pop-up ads,” said Parker. “They can be scam-related.”

Make sure the website has the lock icon as well as HTTPS.

That “S” means it’s secure.

Parker says gift certificates are a good idea.

“They definitely support small and local businesses,” she said. “Just make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions that apply.

When you are buying a gift, it may seem great to you–but not so great to the recipient. Make sure they can return it hassle-free.

“Understand return and refund policies,” said Parker. “A lot of them changed during the pandemic and haven’t changed back to what it was before.”

Always pay for your gifts with a credit card, not a debit card.

The credit card companies can help you dispute a purchase or if you have been scammed, may even help you get your money back.