TULSA, Okla. — Ordering gifts online for the holidays is more popular than ever.
But don't forget to double-check the URL of the website you're shopping on. The 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers looked into how easy it is for scammers to rip off real websites, as part of the count down the 12 scams of Christmas.
The URL is an immediate giveaway -- you may notice an extra number or letter. Those websites are near-exact replicas of legitimate retailers, and you can easily be redirected to one, so it's up to you to spot the fakes.
Keena Antonelli wishes she knew how to spot one earlier. She wanted to buy a kayak for Christmas. So when an ad from a familiar retailer popped up on her Facebook feed, she thought she had found the perfect one. and went to checkout.
"I put in my credit card information, mailing information, everything. The screen kind of hung for a minute and I thought well this is weird and then I got a pop-up message that said your transaction cannot be processed with this card," she said.
Antonelli checked her credit card transaction and saw the name of a different retailer. She had navigated to one of those fake websites. A near-exact replica - minus the slightly different URL, and the phone number, one digit off from the real one.
"It's very easy to create a legitimate-looking website using authentic product descriptions and pictures but when you press the button who knows what's going to show up, often it is a cheap knock-off," says FBI special agent Keith Custer.
He also says Antonelli did the right thing by using a credit card. But a little more research could've saved her the headache of having to dispute the charge. And instead of the kayak she'd been wanting, she received a pair of counterfeit Ray-Bans from somewhere in China.
"Anytime you're going through something that's redirecting you to another place that's something you should look out for and I should know, and didn't, so hopefully people can learn from my mistakes," she told us.
- Instead of clicking through an ad - type in the product you want in a search engine.
- Check out the contact page for more information about the seller.
- Websites like "Whois.net" or "Go Daddy" will give you more information about the website, including when it was first created.
It's a red flag if they haven't been in business very long.
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