Wisconsin BBB: Ordering takeout? Watch out for fake websites

Milwaukee, Wis. – The COVID-19 pandemic has made ordering takeout more popular than ever. Some restaurants have set up their own websites to avoid the fees and challenges that come with food delivery apps, like DoorDash or GrubHub. As always, scammers are quick to pick up on a trend. Watch out for fake food ordering websites that scam consumers 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.

Some consumers reported to BBB Scam Tracker accidentally ordering from fake websites called “Order Hero” or “Order Ventures.” But look out for other variations. Scammers often change their names and continue their tricks under a different fake identity.

One consumer reported, “I placed an order at a restaurant near [my home]. I have been to this place before and ordered online with no issues. When I went on the website everything looked normal and it had a tab that said ‘Order Online,’ which I clicked. This took me to a website called Order Hero. When I went to the restaurant to pick up my food, they said they never received the order in the first place. I showed the owner my email confirmation, and he informed me that they were not associated with these people.”

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 into 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

To learn more ways to protect yourself from online scams, read the BBB Tip: Smart Shopping Online.

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.For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.  

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.