NewsRegion St Lucie CountyFort Pierce


Website scams Fort Pierce woman, hundreds of dollars in fraud charges on her bank account

Posted: 7:22 PM, Jul 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-10 13:23:22Z

There are online shopping sites that look real and may even have what you're looking for at a great price, but can be too good to be true.

A Fort Pierce woman learned that the hard way when she clicked on an ad that popped up on social media, without making sure the site was secured. 

Marty Martinez wanted to buy an inflatable waterslide for her grandchildren. And after some browsing, the perfect ad popped up on her social media account.

"It showed up on my Facebook and it said shop here," said Martinez. "One-hundred and four dollars sounded really good." 

When Martinez tried to check out, she noticed something was wrong. 

"Your card is declined, this is an unsecured website, but this is after you had already put all the information in," said Martinez.

The next day she woke up to find charges on her bank account from different websites she's never even been on, totaling hundreds of dollars. 

"There was nothing but $14 in my account so I was like, 'Oh my God,'" added Martinez. 

Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau found the site was only created 6 days ago and there were several red flags.  

"We would look for whether or not they use the https protocol especially on the pages where you’re going to be giving personal information, payment information. There should be a lock that says it's secure," said Michele Mason, Senior VP of the Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau. 

The lock up top at the URL address would show up on a browser on your desktop and your phone if it was a secured site. 

Martinez said she's learned her lesson, but now has to wait three to five days for her bank to put the money back into her account. 

"It just taught me a very valuable lesson to be careful what I order," she said.

You can look up a site's registration and see when it was created by copying and pasting the URL onto this site.

Carefully pay attention to the URL or web address for shopping websites. The site should have https:// in front of its address. Some web addresses could look identical to a real legit site and you might not notice because the address is missing just one character. 

Mason says if you're going to shop online use a credit card instead of a bank card.