The Better Business Bureau is warning online shoppers about the recent increase in phony websites pretending to be a separate legitimate site.
An example from the BBB is the recent trend of websites including the word "overstock" in the domain name, hoping to fool consumers into thinking they are shopping with Overstock.com.
Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman of Overstock.com, said, "Our web address is simple: overstock.com. That's all. If the name is longer, or uses any additional words or letters, if it has any words other than 'overstock' before the dot-com, it's not our website."
The BBB warns that this scam is happening with other big retailers as well. Scammers make slight changes to the domain name, such as common misspellings and typing errors and then they try to pass off their website as belonging to the legitimate business.
BBB officials have a few tips to avoid falling victim to a fake online retail website:
- Look up business reviews of online retailers on bbb.org.
- Type the URL directly into the browser; don't use a link from an email or social media site unless you are absolutely sure the message is from a legitimate business.
- Look for the 'https' at the beginning of the web address once you reach the payment stage. The 's' stands for secure.
- Check for contact information before purchasing anything from an online retailer.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card for greater protections against possible fraud.
- If the website has a BBB Accredited Business seal, click on it. The real seal should link directly to that company's BBB business review.