Holiday shopping season brings out online scammers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Online shopping sales are expected to grow again this year as fake websites and online scams are also on the rise.

“People are shopping a lot more online and that’s where the scammers are going to go, they’re going to follow the money,” said Tim Maniscalo, the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.

The National Retail Federation’s most recent survey showed an expected 13-15 percent increase in online holiday shopping sales.

Maniscalo said one of the biggest red flags for a scam website is if it looks similar to, but not exactly the same as popular retail sites.

“A lot of those websites aren’t well put together. You’ll see misspellings or things that aren’t presented very professionally, that can really be a tip off,” he said.

He also warned against deals that seem too good to be true.

“You just aren’t going to get a designer watch for 100 dollars,” he said.

The BBB of Central Indiana has seen an increase in consumer complaints about fake website and email shopping scams. Maniscalo warned shoppers to be suspicious of emails or websites that ask for wire transfers for purchases.

“It’s getting much bolder and we are getting more complaints on online activities than in store activities,” he said.

The BBB keeps an online index of approved websites. You can also call if you have a concern or want to report a scam.