NewsShopping Safety


How to spot a fake website

Posted at 9:42 AM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 20:47:08-05

This is part of a larger TODAY'S TMJ4 series on Shopping Safety with stories airing all day on Monday, November 25. For more information, visit

It’s that time of year where online merchants stuff your emails with deep holiday discounts and those pop-up ads promise big savings this season. The online path you take to buy a product this holiday season matters, according to Cyber Security Expert Michael Vieau with Brookfield tech company, Sikich.

Vieau said we need to ask ourselves, “How did you get to the site that you're putting your information in on?”

Vieau explained if you click on the links or ads, your chances of falling victim to cybercrime can increase.

“If I got an email that said hey, there's a great coupon on today, I would open up my web browser and type in and go there myself - not click on the link,” Vieau said.


Watch TODAY’S TMJ4's Facebook live interview with Vieau to learn about other ways to spot a fake or unsecured website here.

Vieau said online shoppers should pay attention to the small details on a website. To do that, he suggests copying and pasting the URL for a closer look.

“Just go put it in “Word” and then it becomes very obvious if it's misspelled,” he said.

Also, look for grammar mistakes. An extra letter or missing letter in a link can take you to a site you don't want to visit.

Vieau also recommends pasting the link into It scans for viruses and checks on a website's reputation.

For better fraud protection, consumers should use credit cards as opposed to debit cards.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, you can file a complaint with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, or with the Better Business Bureau.