Don’t become a victim to fake websites while online shopping

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - According to the National Retail Federation, 75 million people are expected to take advantage of the internet sales on Cyber Monday.

Online shoppers are being warned to shop safe and not become a victim of fraud. Jessica Bowman spoke with the Better Business Bureau serving Mississippi with tips you can use if you plan to shop online.

“There are pop ups coming up on everybody’s computer," said CEO John O’Hara. "If you start to look something up, the next thing you know you are getting hit with stuff. You are like, wow, that pair of shoes is 70 percent of what I was looking at. I’ll click on that website.”

From the comfort of your home, it’s shopping made easy. But experts are warning you to beware.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of fake businesses popping up online," O’Hara said. "Anything from time share sales, people trying to sale money for the holidays and discount tickets for travel. You better watch these fake travel sites that are popping up.”

It's peak season for criminals digitally luring you in.

“Looks good, looks legit, you pay for it and the next think you know you don’t get it," O’Hara said. "Not only that, now they have your credit card number and they are starting to use it.”

O’Hara said before you type in your credit card number, make sure the site you are on is secure. Check the URL link and look for the "S" after the HTTP. Also, look for the lock icon next to they website link. Those two key components can prevent you from becoming a victim of fraudulent websites.

“If you’re doing anything online or even in the stores, please use a credit card," O’Hara said. "At least with a credit card you have a layer of protection. If the bill does come, you can fight those charges. But, with a debit card that money comes right out of your account.”

Remember, legitimate online stores will never require your social security number.

It’s also important never to click on links sent through unsolicited messages in your email or social media accounts.

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