WEST KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) – Don’t let the Grinch ruin gift-giving for you; the holidays are approaching and it can be the most wonderful time of the year for scammers.
The Better Business Bureau is out with a warning to be wary of fake online retailers after someone in West Kelowna tried to make a purchase online at SantasToyHouse.com.
That website turned out to be a fake retailer trying to trick consumers into sharing their credit card information. It had really, really low prices – that really were too good to be true – and didn’t charge any taxes or shipping fees.
Luckily the person didn’t go ahead with the purchase, but they did alert the BBB.
“Scammers are paying attention to the fact that consumers are shopping more online, and now that we’re entering into the peak of shopping season for consumers, they need to be on the lookout for fake retailers,” says Karla Davis with the BBB.
“As we approach the biggest shopping season of the year, consumers need to be careful as they shop, especially while online, as scammers are setting traps to steal their money and personal information.”
Davis says sticking with reputable retailers, and looking for things like privacy policies, contact information and legitimate, linked social media accounts can prevent you from being scammed.
BBB tips for smart shopping:
- Know the advertiser: make sure it’s not a fake site copying a legitimate one.
- Check the site’s security settings: look for the “https://” at the start of the URL and a lock icon on the shopping cart or purchase page.
- Be a savvy shopper: take your time shopping online, read the fine print before submitting your order, and look for the return policy.
- Think before you click: be cautious about email solicitations and online ads.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is: watch for hidden costs or a monthly charge. Read the fine print.
- Beware of phishing: double-check the sender on that email. They could be pretending to be a legitimate site.
- Use a credit card: gift cards, prepaid cards and debit cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
- Keep your receipts: save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you get your items.
- Keep a clean machine: install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and keep it updated.
You can report a scam at bbb.org/scamtracker.