The COVID-19 pandemic has made ordering takeout more popular than ever. Some restaurants have even set up their own websites to avoid the fees and challenges that come with food delivery apps. As always, scammers are quick to pick up on a trend. Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to watch out for fake food ordering websites that are designed to scam them out of their money and personal information.
How the scam works
You search for your favorite restaurant’s website to see if they offer delivery and a way to order online. Near the top of the search results, you find a website that looks like it belongs to the restaurant. Or you may find a third-party website that looks very professional and similar to popular services like DoorDash or GrubHub.
You click on the link, select your food, and enter your credit card information to pay. Charges appear on your account, but the food never arrives. When you call the restaurant to see what’s happened, they are unaware of your order. The website was a fake, and now the scammers have your credit card information, address, and other personal details.
BBB Scam Tracker received reports from consumers who accidentally ordered from fake websites called “Order Hero” or “Order Ventures.” But look out for other variations. Scammers often change their name and continue their tricks under a different fake identity.
How to avoid food ordering scams
- Only order from websites you know and trust. Even if you think you are on a website you know, double check the URL before you place your order.
- When in doubt, confirm with the restaurant. The first time you order directly from a restaurant’s website, call the restaurant to confirm that they have online ordering and you are on the correct URL.
- Use your credit card. When you pay with your credit card, you can dispute any unauthorized charges. The same may not be true if you use your debit card or if you give a company your banking information, such as your account number and your bank’s routing number.
- Take action if you think you’ve ordered on a fake site. If you suspect you entered your credit card information to a fraudulent website, cancel your card right away and request a new one. Scammers might wait a few weeks or months before they start using the card numbers you gave them access to.
For More Information
Check out restaurants’ reputations through BBB.org. If a website you visit looks suspicious, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker. Sharing your findings can help others avoid falling prey to similar scams.