Jim Hegarty, head of the Better Business Bureau in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says there’s a “Scammer Claus” lurking behind many websites.
Hegarty warns to look over the address with caution and watch out if it only says “http” without an “s”.
“Make sure you look for the ‘https’ in front of the web address,” he say. “That reminds you that the ‘s’ stands for security and that the site is secure and that you can, more than likely, trust providing your credit card information to it.”
This is the season for giving to those in need, but Hagerty warns there are certainly plenty of takers, too. Use care if you’re donating to a charity online as your good deed may be only contributing to thieves.
“There’s a lot of bogus look-alike charities that pop up this time of year,” Hagerty says. “They play off of legitimate charity names and they may, in fact, not be legitimate and the money you give them may not go to the people in need at all.”
It’s a wise move to avoid clicking on any links you might be sent over email from unknown sources. Instead, go directly to the charities’ websites.