NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One of the most popular times of the year to search for deals online is here with Black Friday. But during that time there are numerous scams that pop up that aim to take advantage of consumers searching for the best deal.
“Unfortunately, because of that enthusiasm and looking for good deals, there’s an awful lot of scammers out there," said Robyn Householder, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky.
Many of the scammers will pose as businesses and encourage people to not only complete a survey and hand over personal information, but also share with their friends and family over social media so more people fall for the scam.
“It’s really, really easy to copy a legitimate website’s information and create something that looks really real like Kohl’s or Kroger, those are the two that we’re seeing right now," Householder said, adding that it makes it so more people see the websites as legitimate. "If you’re excited about it, you’re going to want to tell your friends, so you’re going to share it.”
There are numerous warning signs that can let a consumer know that a website is a scam and is not legitimate.
First, check the URL, or web address. if it doesn't have an "https" or a symbol of a lock next to the URL, then it is likely not legitimate. Also, the URL might not mirror the actual URL of the business.
Householder said even if that checks out, you should be weary when they start asking for certain information.
“When it starts to ask you for private information, for payment information, that’s usually a really good sign to know that you’re somewhere that you shouldn’t be, and it’s time to get off,” she said.
You can also Google specific offers to see if they're legitimate, or to see if they've been reported as scams. But the only issue is that new scams are constantly emerging.
“As quick as we’re able to help shut down a scam, another one pops right back up, so it’s this treadmill of activity where we’re very grateful for companies like Kroger and Amazon and Kohl’s that are doing their best to educate their consumers and fight the good fight," Householder said. "There’s just a new scammer born every day, so we just have to be better consumers and do our homework, do our due diligence, be cautious.”