Beware of the ‘Holiday Look-Alike Scam’

Holiday Scams

The holidays should be a magical time of year, but unfortunately, the holidays are also a time when scammers are trying their hardest to take advantage of you.

It can be difficult to spot a fraudulent website. Scammers are good at creating websites that look convincing, many times, almost identical to the website you are actually looking for.

“Look-alike” websites popping up this holiday season can mimic your banking website, retailer’s websites, and they may come in the form of an email promoting what seems to be a great deal. So you need to be on the lookout for red flags.

“They’ll be one subtle thing different in that URL address, so what they are trying to do is really two things. One, take your information which becomes an identity issue. And two, take your money and you’re standing there with the bag with never receiving anything from them,” said Robyn Householder with the Better Business Bureau.

These look-alike sites also allow malware to be downloaded onto your computer.

You can look for several things to protect yourself. First, take a close look at the address and be cautious of retail domains that end in ‘.net or .org,’ as they are rarely used for online shopping and may have been acquired by questionable organizations. Also, look for grammatical errors. And look for ‘https’ in the address. The ‘s’ lets you know the site is secure.

If you believe you are a victim of an Internet-related crime, you can file an online fraud complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Better Business Bureau. Complaints against foreign companies can be filed with e-consumer.

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