Holiday shopping warning: Signs you are about to be tricked online

HOUSTON – It’s the busiest online shopping time of the year and we know thieves are working overtime. But you also want to shop around to save money. We will show you how to score discounts while staying safe online.

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. It’s also a time when scammers are preying on unsuspecting buyers. In 2021, 20% of online transactions during this time of year were potentially fraudulent. One reason is people are shopping around for the best deals, so they could stumble onto a fake website. Last year, Americans spent about $62 billion taking advantage of online deals during Cyber Monday. But they are not the only ones looking to cash in.

Look for the lock symbol

Look for the lock symbol on any website you visit, especially if you are shopping on the website. The lock symbol shows the site is secure. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

In 2019, scammers created more than 100,000 fake lookalike shopping websites. You may come across these pages while searching for the best deals on items you are looking for. To avoid falling for a fake site, always look for the HTTPS lock symbol on your browser address window when making an online purchase.

Fraudulent site check

Search for deals on retailer sites and not on search engines. If you are having a hard time finding an out-of-stock item, instead of searching the web and landing on a possible fraudulent site, try Zoolert. Zoolert allows you to set an alert for an item when it’s back in stock at one of your favorite retailers.

Use websites like Zoolert and Fakespot to search out potentially dangerous websites. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

You can avoid getting ripped off by fake reviews by using the website Fakespot. The browser extension uses artificial intelligence to detect fake reviews and counterfeit products.

On fake websites, you’ll often find misspellings, odd formatting, or just prices that are too good to be true.

How do you check if a website is real?

You can verify if a website is legit by using a website safety checker. On these sites, you can check to see who registered the domain, where the domain is registered, and contact information for the founder of the website. If it’s from a foreign account, has names that don’t match up, or just looks suspicious in general, avoid the website. Several websites will do this for you.

ICANN’ s WHOIS allows you to see information about any website domain. All you have to do is enter a URL and click “lookup.”

SSLTrust is a quick website security check tool where you can easily plug in a URL and see if something odd shows up.

VirusTotal uses several antivirus tracking tools to check websites.

Google Transparency Report can warn you about websites that may threaten your data privacy. This is a good way to go about checking to see if a website is legit.

Talosintelligence analyzes websites for various threats. It’s a good way to check domains for potentially suspicious activity.

URLVoid is a popular fake website checker tool that can scan any portal on malware and phishing threats using advanced software. This website also checks backlist engines that other checkers may miss.

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About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.