ROANOKE, Va (WFXR) — With the holiday season approaching, it’s important to remember that no one is immune to scams. The Better Business Bureau urges people to be cautious while shopping online.

More than eight percent of all websites on the internet are fake. According to the agency, online shopping scams are becoming the number one scam in the nation. This year more than 60 reports have been made around Southwest Virginia, regarding the loss of money to fake websites.

Scammers are paying for advertisements, when you search for something online their fake website generates at the top of the list, explains Julie Wheeler, the president and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia.

To avoid being scammed, you need to do your homework.

  • Think before you click, especially on those pop-up ads on your social media. Those ads may appear legitimate, however, many sketchy retailers advertise great deals that don’t match the promotional hype.
  • Read the fine print, before making an online order.
  • Make sure you understand the return policy.
  • Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals.
  • Use a credit card when shopping online. This way if anything gets charged that wasn’t supposed to be, you can file a claim with the credit card company.
  • If you are wary of a website and its legitimacy, research when and where that website was registered.

“I’ve seen a lot of these fake sites that are putting addresses of shopping malls. At that point, pull up the shopping mall directory, and see if that store is in there because what you will find is that in most cases they are not they are located in that store,” Wheeler.

If you see or become a victim of a scam, you are urged to report it to the BBB so the bureau can stop the scammers, as well as prevent others from becoming victims of the same scam.