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How to Spot a Fake, Fraudulent or Scam Website

Web Hosting Blog

You might have heard of a website scam checker that helps detect fake and fraudulent websites. If you haven’t used these scam website checkers, it’s a good idea to get your hands on one as soon as possible.

The Internet is a global marketplace where businesses across the globe reach customers in almost any part of the world. Sadly, it’s also a place where cybercriminals lure unwary users into phishing scams and make them download malware onto their computers. Cybercriminals are good at imparting a false sense of trust, commonly known as “social engineering,” and it’s the fundamental trait in phishing emails that link to fake and fraudulent websites.

 How Fake Websites Work

In most cases of internet fraud, scammers or hackers pretend to be a legitimate person or organization. They create seemingly legitimate websites and try to trick you into revealing your personal or financial information, such as internet banking details, credit card numbers and passwords.

Creating scam websites is one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to lure unwary users. In some cases, scammers change their tactics to avoid being caught and make the recipient believe the scam is real.

If you fall for the traps set by these fake websites and click on the links provided, it may launch a Trojan that installs a keystroke logger or spyware on your computer. Keylogger malware can capture everything you type, including passwords, while spyware records all your internet activities.

The link you click may also redirect you to a fake bank website that asks you to enter your personal information. The fake webpage may look identical to the bank’s real homepage. But, when you try to log into your bank account, you may be prompted for information the real bank site would never prompt you for.

 Identifying Fraudulent Websites

You can avoid fraudulent websites by looking for common signs that indicate the site you’re visiting is fraudulent. Here are some of those signs:

 Incorrect URL

In many phishing scams, scammers use modified URLs of the actual web pages. So, users must be vigilant and double check the URL of the webpage. Look for alterations in the URL, such as hyphens or any other added characters.

 No Postal Address

If you’re visiting an ecommerce webpage, be sure to check their postal address on the website. Real businesses, selling real products, will display a physical contact address on their websites. Be cautious of any site that doesn’t list the company’s physical address or contact information.

You can also search Google or use Google maps to find the exact location of the company. If the contact address provided on the website doesn’t match the company’s exact location, it may be a fake or fraudulent website.

 Asks for Banking Information

If you’re visiting a real bank website, it would never ask for your debit card numbers and PIN numbers via email. Be wary of any email or website that asks for such sensitive information to log in.

 Contains Misspelled Words

Real companies/brands have a specialized team to check grammar and the accuracy of emails and website. If a site has poor grammar or a misspelling/misuse of the company name, be cautious and look for other clues to confirm your suspicions, then avoid such websites.

Displays a Not Secure Warning

Google now displays a “Not Secure” warning for any website without an encrypted connection. Of course, it could be a legitimate business that has forgotten, or doesn’t know how, to protect their website with an SSL certificate. But, it’s safer to assume it’s not a real, secure site and stick to websites that display HTTPS in the browser bar.

Ideally, the website is protected by a comprehensive website security tool, such as cWatch Web. This cloud-based Security as a Service (SaaS) solution provides malware scanning and blacklist monitoring, prevents DDoS attacks and much more.