The Internet has over 1.7 billion websites. However, not all of them are legit. Some websites are used by scammers to trick you into giving them your money and personal details.
Spot fraudulent websites
Fortunately, these websites can easily be spotted. Below are some signs to look out for whether the website you have created is legit or not.
Check URL name
The first thing you need to do before visiting a site is to make sure the domain name is the one you intend to visit.
Scammers create fake websites posing as an official entity, usually in the form of an organization you would recognize, such as PayPal, Amazon or Walmart, according to Which.UK.
Sometimes the difference between the real name of the website and the fake one is almost imperceptible. A scammer can build a site using rnicrosoft.com but use “r and “n” to form the letter “m”. This makes you think you are visiting the real Microsoft website when you are not.
Also read: Nintendo warns against fake Switch website with huge discounts
Cybercriminals can trick you into visiting a fraudulent site in two ways. The first means is phishing. Phishing is a form of cyberattack transmitted by e-mail.
The scammer tries to trick you into clicking on the attached link in the email, and you will be directed to a fraudulent copy of the website to phish your personal information and banking details.
The second way scammers trick you into visiting a fraudulent site is through typosquatting. Typosquatting uses misspellings of domain names like amazom.com and rnicorsoft.com.
Typosquatting tricks you into thinking you’ve entered the correct domain name, but you’re actually visiting a fraudulent copy of the site. Sometimes a web browser will notify you, but most of the time you won’t be notified, according to HowtoGeek.
Check the padlock
When you open a website, look for the padlock to the left of the URL in the address bar. The padlock indicates that the website is secured with a TLS/SSL certificate, which encrypts the data exchanged between the user and the website.
If the website has not received a TSL/SSL certificate, you will see an exclamation mark on the left side of the domain name. If the site is not TLS/SSL certified, any data you send is at risk of being intercepted.
The downside is that not all SSL certificates are real. These sites are taken quite quickly, but it is always better to look a little more closely at the padlock.
Check privacy and return policies
Fraudulent websites don’t go as far as genuine websites go about privacy and return policies.
If a website has a poorly written policy, this is considered a red flag. If a website doesn’t have any written policies at all, avoid using them because it’s likely a scam site, according to HBC.
Check spelling and grammar
Even the most reliable websites occasionally contain spelling or grammatical errors. However, most websites have professional teams that fix it immediately.
If a website has many spelling and grammatical errors, you may be visiting a fraudulent site.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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