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Beware Fake Retail Look-Alike Websites

We are in peak shopping season now and that means scammers are working overtime to steal your hard-earned money.

One technique being used by some crooks is to take out Facebook ads using the genuine front page of a retailer’s circular like this spotted by Trend Micro:

Fake Big Lots ad

When you click that ad or the “shop now” button you are taken to a site that looks like Big Lots.

Big Lots fake website

Scroll down the ad.


In fact, it brought you to BigLotsClearances.com — a site made to look like the real Big Lots site. And if you scroll through some of bargains being advertised, the prices are impossibly low. An electric motor bike for thirty bucks – 90% off? And a canister of Tide Pods less than three dollars? We should be so lucky.

Before you click any Facebook ad, try to determine what URL you are going to be directed to by hovering over the clickable area with your mouse. Beware of look-alike/sound-alike website names. And if the deals on the actual website are simply too good to be true, get off that website quickly just in case it is booby-trapped with a virus.

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11 thoughts on “Beware Fake Retail Look-Alike Websites”

    • They don’t care. They make money off the clicks and views. Same with all the fake accounts. They count as users

  1. One way to help avoid this type of scam is to add a browser extension that displays the country where the server is located (I use Country Flag + with the Firefox browser). If the country is someplace you’d rather not do business with, move on.

    • I was surprised to see a counterfeit postage ad on msn.com. I really thought they were better than that. And there was no way to report it. At least on FB, they can be reported and blocked.

  2. This is the other side of the coin to Facebook’s ad strategy. By creating a system that allows anyone to setup an ad account with no proactive oversight. There is no Facebook employee who looks at this before it goes live and determines that it’s fake.

  3. Big Lots should also take action and sue for trademark infringement and shut them down. they are making people think Big Lots is scamming them.

  4. If you see emojis, especially when there’s more than one, it’s probably foreign. If it has terrible grammar and spams keywords, it’s probably clickbait. If it’s foreign and clickbait, it’s probably a scam.

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