BBB warning to holiday shoppers: Don’t be duped by realistic sites

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The estimated 122 million consumers shopping this Cyber Monday may come across more than just bargains.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan says this is the most popular time of year for scammers to attack.

“It’s not a question of if you’re going to be compromised. It’s how you’re going to be compromised and when are you going to be compromised,” said Phil Catlett, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan.

FAKE WEBSITE FRAUD

One of the easiest scams to fall for is fake websites that look real.

“They’re getting so sophisticated and there’s a lot of times I can’t tell for sure if it’s real or it isn’t, and I’m in the midst of it every single day,” said Catlett.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan has flagged the following sites as places to avoid shopping:

  • Portugalnationshop.com
  • Packersnflofficialonline.com
  • Sportsfanatic.co

“Sometimes it’s really hard. They try to look as official as they can, so I think the biggest key is no matter how official it looks, just don’t trust the link unless you are absolutely expected to get something like that,” said Catlett.

PACKAGE DELIVERY PHISHING

Another tricky scam is email phishing.

In one scheme, scammers send out an email that looks like a package delivery confirmation message. Users who click on the link that claims to be package tracking information run the risk of installing malware or sharing information that could lead to identity theft.

“The Postal Service is not going to send it and (it’s) highly likely the other delivery services (won’t) either. If you’re not fully expecting something, don’t respond directly back to an email or text. Contact them another way where you can verify the number in advance, that that’s who you are trying to reach and ask if this (message) is legitimate,” advised Catlett.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan also recommends ensuring your computer is up-to-date on virus and malware protection.

RECOVERING FROM A SCAM

If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan recommends taking the following steps:

  • Call your credit card companies to report the problem and flag your account.
  • Change all your passwords, especially if you use the same one for each account.

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Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan: Savvy shopping tips