UA professor weighs in on fake retail websites

Protecting shoppers from internet scams

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - This time of year you hear about tax scams and people trying to trick you to give up your personal information.

In addition to this, you also need to be aware of fake websites.

We’ve all heard of the saying if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

University of Alabama Information Management Systems Professor Matthew Hudnall spoke about a recent call WBRC got about fake duplicate shopping websites on social media.

Hudnall said the first thing you want to do is check the Better Business Bureau website to see if a scam has been reported on that said business before.

Then do some research and see how far back the reviews on the website date back.

Hudnall also said because some scammers will not only create websites that look almost identical to the original retail company, check on Google and see which site pops up first, that’s probably the real one.

Look for a padlock on the browser bar and if the bar is green that means the website has gone through additional validation steps.

“You still have to do your research about the company even before handing over your address. Online companies reaching out to you saying you won something if you didn’t register for something, then you have not won something by just browsing a site or viewing something randomly it’s most likely a scam situation,” said Hudnall. He added if you’re getting random emails with links to websites don’t click on it, look up the name first to see if the company is legit.

Hudnall also said ideally if there’s an option to use Google Pay, Apple Pay or PayPal to shop on a website that’s the best way to protect your money.

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