The counterfeit website offers designer winter coats at low prices; experts say don’t fall into the trap

One cybersecurity expert says to be extra vigilant when shopping online this holiday season as scams get more sophisticated and common.

MINNEAPOLIS – In Minnesota, a winter coat is like armor: a shield against the wind and the cold.

So when an ad pops up on your Facebook feed for a $ 20 The North Face winter coat, who wouldn’t click on it?

Mark Lanterman of Computer Forensic Services says it’s a smart, but devilish way to deceive people.

Offer a $ 450 coat for $ 54? A pair of kids’ boots at $ 65 for $ 9.75? Who wouldn’t want that, right?

As we come out of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, it’s not that hard to see 80% off otherwise expensive items.

“These types of thoughtful, well-planned scams are becoming more and more common,” Lanterman says.

Even the website looks like the real thing and the web addresses are very similar.

The North Face’s website is TheNorthFace.com, and Lanterman says the address of the forged website is USTheNorthFace.com, which makes the only “US” difference to the start. Lanterman suspects the crooks of literally copying and pasting material from the real The North Face website.

He says this is how they were able to create hundreds of web pages with products and descriptions and a shopping cart that you can fill with your purchases.

But according to KARE 11 viewers who have fallen in love, the money is sent to different overseas bank accounts and there is no way to file a complaint or get a refund.

“With the fake website, we find that it re-registers in China,” says Lanterman.

North Face’s head office is actually in California, not China.

Lanterman says consumers may think that since the ad is on Facebook, it must be legitimate, but he says it isn’t.

“These scammers are getting more and more sophisticated, which means that we as consumers have to be more sophisticated as well,” Lanterman said.

KARE 11 contacted The North Face and its parent company to see if they were aware of this bogus website.

We haven’t heard from them.

KARE 11 is also awaiting a response from the Federal Trade Commission and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to see if anyone has officially filed a claim.

Edwin S. Wolfe