The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Vancouver Island is warning consumers to be extra vigilant when it comes to shopping online. (File photo)

Beware security features on fraudulent websites – Better Business Bureau

  • Nov. 30, 2018 9:30 a.m.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Vancouver Island is warning consumers to be extra vigilant when it comes to shopping online.

A recent report released by PhishLabs suggests that 49 per cent of all phishing sites in the third quarter of 2018 displayed the padlock security icon and https:// in the browser address bar.

“For years BBB has reminded people to look for the padlock and http’s’ when shopping online, to ensure that the website they were about to enter their personal and banking information into was secure and legitimate,” said Rosalind Scott, President & CEO of BBB serving Vancouver Island. “The reality is that scam artists are crafty, and the presence of the padlock and ‘s’ are now irrelevant to the security or legitimacy of a website. The only thing these items signify is that the data on the site is encrypted and can’t be read by a third party, but your personal and financial information can still be stolen.”

So, what can you do to protect yourself from fraud when shopping online:

· Don’t click through – Search out legitimate online shopping sites yourself, don’t just click on links in ads in emails, on websites or on social media posts.

· Do your research – Now more than ever you really need to know who you are doing business with when shopping online. Check out companies at bbb.org before making a purchase.

· Use your eagle eyes – Watch out for look-alike websites that mimic famous brands, but that may be a scam. Look for spelling mistakes, promises of deals that are too-good-to be true, and “act fast/act now” promotions.

· Pay with credit card – Use a credit card when shopping online as it has more fraud protections than a debit card.

· Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.

For more information about scams and frauds this holiday season visit bbb.org.