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Avoid pitfall of online shopping, analysts say

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Millions of Americans are looking for the best deals they can find on this Cyber Monday.  Some of these deals look very tempting, but, some analysts say these “deals” might not even be real.

According to some analysts, the biggest pitfall that online shoppers fall into this time of year is when a scammer abuses the trust of the victim.  Pete Ashdown, X-Mission President, says, “[Victims] think it’s a real website.  They think it’s a real vendor.  Or, they think it’s a real friend.”

However, he says there are many fake websites that are designed to look like the real ones.  “If someone sends you an email that says, ‘Large screen TVs for $100,’ and it has a link to a website and you go there and it looks like Amazon and you enter your details, then you’re probably in trouble,” Ashdown says.

He recommends people take a very close look at the web address of the store before they actually buy anything.  Fake website developers will frequently use the name of the real retailer in a way to make it look like they’re legit.  He says, “It would be like ‘appledeals.com’ or ‘superappledeals.com’ and you would think, ‘It must be Apple,’ but it’s not.  Apple uses Apple.com and that’s it.”

There are some retailers that will work through an independent vendor, and the reputable sites will trend at the top of a Google search.  However, Ashdown says the best thing to do is open a new web page and go to the retailer’s website directly to research if the deal is bogus or not.  Ashdown says, “Verify everything you do.  Make sure you go to Amazon.com or Ebay.com or Apple.com.”