Consumer Alert: How to shop smart online and avoid scams

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On this Black Friday, it’s our mission to make sure you shop smart. We want you to get the best deal for the best price and avoid the scams.

I don’t want you to do what I did six years ago. In 2016, I had just adopted my son, Max, who was six. All he wanted for Christmas as a pair of Jordans.

Well, you know me. I’m frugal, and I was not going to spend $100 on shoes for a growing child. I found what I thought was a great deal on Amazon from a third-party seller who had great reviews. But when the red paint quickly began to wear away and reveal the fake white leather beneath, I knew I’d been duped.

And that’s the danger of online shopping. Even the big online marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart may unknowingly be selling fakes. That’s because they allow third-party sellers to sell their wares on their sites.

Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield, says to watch out for social media. If you see an ad for a great deal for a product with a link to a site, beware.

“You need to be sure that the domain name is exactly like the brand name. If there’s a typo there, it’s a scam. If there are typos in the content of the website, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If someone approaches you through social media, through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter and tries to give you a special offer and sends you a link for some website, it’s a scam,” Keren said.

So he sent me scams that he found on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. On all of these, fraudsters were selling everything from Hugo Boss to Ray-Bans to Rolex. All were fake.

So, checking the URL is key. The website for Hugo Boss is If there are any letters or numbers added, it’s a scam.

What is far more difficult is being able to tell whether a third-party seller on a legitimate website is scamming you, which is what happened to me.

Check whether the reviews are real. Now, I never shop without verifying the reviews by using Fakespot or ReviewMeta.