Holiday shopping tips: Online scammers using 'realistic' URLs to fool victims, BBB warns

Major Retailers Announce New Gift Card Policy to Prevent Scamming

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Cyber Monday comes to a close, the holiday shopping season is officially underway. That means more deals for shoppers and more opportunities for schemers.

The Better Business Bureau said that during this time, it's very important to double check the URL before you click "buy."

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It's the busiest time of the year for online shoppers. Many of them look to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save money.

However, many more will remain on the hunt for deals over the next few weeks.

Nancy Crawford of the BBB said online shoppers will need to pay extra attention to avoid bad business.

“Anything a person can create, someone else can hack. You just have to be very vigilant about the sites you’re going to,” Crawford said.

Crawford said some unverified websites are now using URLs that resemble those of legitimate retailers.

She said taking a close look at that URL is the key to telling real from fake.

“What comes before the dot com or dot org is the real name of that domain,” Crawford said. “The last few words are going to be the really telling factor of the website that you’re on.”

The BBB said another way to tell of legit sites is quite simple: reach out.

“Look for contact information. A physical address. A phone number,” Crawford said.

If you do end up making a purchase from a bad site, it’s better to have used a credit card.

“The safest way for you to pay is with a credit card because you have protections under federal law where you can challenge those charges on your credit card,” Crawford explained.

The BBB said before you consider making a purchase, it’s also wise to check the BBB website to see if the company you’re doing business with is reputable.

To see the full report, click here.