According to the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 2021 Online Purchase Scams Report, out of 9,821 unsafe website URLs reported to BBB Scam Tracker, only 11 were found in Google Safe Browsing.
While harmful sites are being marked and taken down, new ones are being launched daily. Practice safer online shopping with these helpful tips.
1️⃣ Look for the lock
✔A website is secure when there is a small lock icon on the address bar and “https” in the URL (the s stands for “secure”). While the lock icon doesn’t determine if a website is a scam, it shows the site has some form of protection from being hacked. If the website only has “http” in the URL, do not give your personal or payment information.
2️⃣ Inspect the web address
✔Fake sites will often have web addresses that are similar to well-known brand names with a letter or character out of place, a different domain extension, or sometimes a subdomain.
3️⃣ Verify site seals
✔Scammers are great at making a website and email look official by copying official seals and other features. If the business has any trust seals, you can check the validity by looking up the company on the seal’s official website.
4️⃣ Look for contact information and policies
✔Check for multiple types of contact information, like phone, email, physical address, and online chat. Be cautious of a website that doesn’t have multiple forms of contact.
5️⃣ Examine content for spelling and grammar errors
✔A legitimate business would take great care in making their website look professional. Excessive spelling and grammar errors could be a sign that the website went up quickly.
6️⃣Check the site’s domain age
✔Fake sites often have a short lifespan before they are taken down. You can find out how long a domain has been active with online tools. If a website is new, be extra careful.
7️⃣ Do your research
✔Conduct a simple search for company reviews. A legitimate site should have reviews that are recent and detailed about the product or service. Fake reviews are often generic, brief, not descriptive, and sometimes similar to one another.
✔Search the website’s name with the word “scam.” If others have fallen victim to a fake site, you will likely find these reports.
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