BBB tips for avoiding scam sites

CONYERS — The Better Business Bureau has shut down more than 100 fraudulent websites in the past year for stealing the BBB logo and claiming to be legitimate sites, according to a press release from the Better Business Bureau. Many of these sites contain the word “overstock” in their domain names in the hopes of duping consumers into thinking that they are shopping with the popular discount retailer site, overstock.com, according to the BBB.

“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 Better Business Bureaus Carrie A. Hurt in the release. “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.”

“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 BBB has given overstock.com an A rating and named it as an Accredited Business. Along with receiving recognition from the BBB, overstock.com has received “Best of the Web” awards from Compuware for the past four years.

In order to avoid scammer sites, the BBB has formulated a few tips for online shoppers.

• Visit bbb.org to look up reviews of online retailers before making a purchase.

• Do not click on a link from an email or social media page unless it is absolutely certain that the link is from a legitimate business. Instead, type or copy and paste the URL directly into another browser.

• When paying, make sure that the beginning of the address bar reads “https” meaning that it is a secure page and information will be kept private.

• Look for the website’s contact information including a real address, a toll-free customer service number, or any other way to reach the company if a problem arises.

• Instead of using a debit card, use a credit card when making online purchases. Credit cards typically offer greater protections against possible frauds than debit cards. Also purchases on credit cards can be more easily disputed than other payment methods.

• If a site has a BBB seal, click on it. If it is legitimate, then clicking on the seal will link directly to that company’s BBB review.