As the final countdown to Christmas draws near, many holiday shoppers are letting their guard down in the rush to get gifts.
We want it now, and when we find what we’re looking for online, we click the purchase button.
But buyers beware.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers this week to be extra careful while shopping at Overstock.com.
“Overstock.com is a highly visible online retailer, so it’s no wonder scammers try to mimic them,” said President and CEO of the Council of BBB Carrie A. Hurt. “We’ve seen this with other major retailers as well. BBB is warning consumers: be careful to look for the real domain when it comes to major retail sites.”
There's nothing with wrong with the Overstock.com website -- it has excellent reviews.
The problem is all the knockoff copycat sites that are popping up, Hurt said.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this year shut down a half-dozen websites that were using the name "Overstock" without permission.
Among the sites: Overstockcloseoutstock.com and Overstockclearancemart.com.
In June, the BBB reported on Overstockcloseoutstock.com, calling it a fraudulent retailer using a Salisbury, Md. address, while pirating the official logo of the online retailer Overstock.com in order to dupe consumers.
“Our web address is simple: overstock.com,” said Overstock.com Executive Vice Chairman Jonathan Johnson. “That’s all. If the name is longer, or uses any additional words, or letters, if it has any words other than ‘overstock’ before the dot com, it’s not our website.
The FTC reports some of these other sites were legitimate online merchants, but were using Overstock.com’s name and reputation without any connection to the real company.
The BBB offers these tips when shopping at a website you’re not used to:
- Go to bbb.org to look up the BBB Business Reviews of your favorite online retailers.
- Type the URL directly into your browser; do not click on a link from an email or social media site unless you are absolutely sure the message is from the legitimate business.
- On the payment page, look for “https” at the beginning of the address (the “s” stands for “secure”).
- Look for “Contact Us” information, including a real address, a toll-free customer service number, and other ways to reach the company if you have a problem.
- Use a credit card (not a debit card) when shopping online for greater protections against possible fraud.
- If a website has a BBB Accredited Business seal, click on it. A real seal should link directly to that company’s BBB Business Review.
Be careful and aware when shopping online, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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