Ordering takeout online? Beware of fraudulent websites

Scammers using fake websites for restaurants, delivery companies to steal information

Ordering takeout is easier now than ever before -- but scam artists are trying to take advantage of your online ordering with fake websites.

Ordering takeout is easier these days than ever before -- but, of course, with the convenience comes the potential for scams.

Experts are warning that there are scam artists targeting customers when ordering takeout online. Their goal is to make you think you’re ordering food on a safe website, when you’re actually giving up your credit card number and personal information.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are using fake websites for restaurants and delivery companies in an effort to steal your information. Before you click the link to order at your favorite restaurant, be on the look out for warning signs.

Some red flags for a fake website would include if the restaurant’s logo looks different, or if the URL has the same name of the restaurant but with a period and/or a few other letters added, says to Laura Blankenship, director of marketing with the BBB.

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The organization says that people reported accidentally ordering from fake websites called “Order Hero” or “Order Ventures.”

Blankenship says to be on the lookout for slight name changes.

“Scammers have been impersonating legitimate retailers and legitimate websites for quite some time,” Blankenship said. “So for them to hop on the restaurant train, it was only a matter of time.”

Related: Scammers use QR codes to trick consumers into opening malicious links

To avoid being scammed and giving away your personal information to thieves, be sure to only order food from websites you know and trust. If you’re not sure, double check.

The first time you order from a website, call the restaurant and confirm your order. You can also pay for the meal with your credit card, that way you can dispute the charges if there is a problem.

“You should always use your credit card whenever purchasing something online or purchasing something ... if you don’t know the retailer very well, because you have more recourse using your credit card,” Blankenship said. “If you use your debit card, wire transfer or a prepaid gift card, you cannot get your money back.”

If you believe you used your credit card to order food from a fraudulent site, take action: Call and freeze or cancel your credit card.

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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.