April 21, 2024
Fake Fraudulent

5 Ways to Determine if a Website is Fake Fraudulent or a Scam

Most people pay little attention to their browser address bar – but it contains vital information about the website you’re visiting. Checking the website’s details can help minimize your risk of falling victim to a fraudster or scammer.

For example, if the site asks you to wire payment through Western Union or only accepts iTunes gift cards, that’s a red flag. Also, avoid websites that only offer low prices or deals.

1. Look at the URL

The internet is the greatest resource we have, so a little research can go a long way. A simple google search can reveal a lot about whether a company is legitimate or not. Look out for pixelated or low quality images, awkward design and logos and a lack of contact information (especially a phone number) on the website. Also, avoid websites that ask you to wire money via Western Union or pay in iTunes gift cards – most legitimate companies will accept major credit cards and have their business address listed on their website.

You can also copy and paste a website into a site tracker to see how long it has been online. If the website has only been around for a short time, it is likely a fake.

2. Check for a padlock

A padlock next to a website’s URL in your browser indicates that the site uses SSL or TLS to encrypt data. This helps prevent snooping from third parties, such as man-in-the-middle attacks.

Many Legit or `Scam Reviews websites offer too-good-to-be-true deals to lure deal-seekers into purchasing knockoff products or sharing sensitive information with scammers, who then use it to steal their money or identity. Some fraudulent websites also download malware onto your computer so that they can spy on you or scan your hard drive for valuable information.

Fake sites will occasionally try to spoof the padlock symbol and display a security certificate that looks authentic but is actually a DV (domain validation) or OV (organization validated) certificate, which are less secure. This is why you should look beyond the padlock and use a secure website checker to verify a site’s encryption and verification level.

3. Check for SSL/TLS

SSL certificates verify the identity of websites and provide them with an encryption key to protect the information they share. This ensures that when you visit a banking website, for example, your information is being transmitted to the bank’s real site and not an imposter.

SSL also includes a message authentication code, or MAC, which authenticates the server and prevents on-path attacks and domain spoofing. However, it’s important to note that TLS communications can be intercepted by malicious actors who want to insert malware and cloak command-and-control traffic.

You can check a website’s SSL certificate using online tools. They can also help you find any misconfigurations or vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors. Another tip is to look at the design quality of a website. Low-resolution images and poor design skills can be a red flag.

4. Check for Whois Lookup

Fake websites are designed by scammers to trick deal-hungry consumers into sharing sensitive information (like account passwords and financial data), buying products that don’t exist, or downloading malware. Pixelated images, awkward designs and layouts, and no contact information are all red flags that should raise suspicion. Real companies have physical addresses and phone numbers listed on their website, and they should offer multiple ways to communicate with them online—not just a contact form.

To check for whois lookup, enter a URL into the free tool above to see the publicly available information about the domain’s brains, including registrant names and emails, admin data, tech data, server, DNS provider, and more. If you spot a fake website, report it to Google to block access to the site in search results and prevent Chrome and other browsers from loading it.

5. Check for reviews

Scammers often write fake reviews to boost their reputation. A quick Google search can reveal whether a website has been scammed by real customers or not. Look for reviews on trusted review sites like Trustpilot, Feefo and Sitejabber. Be suspicious of reviews that sound similar to one another or contain overly-specific details. Also, be careful of reviews written by new accounts, as this could indicate that the reviewers are bots.

Fake online shopping websites proliferate during big retail sales events and on social media, luring deal-hungry shoppers into buying products that don’t exist or sharing sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. A few scammers do deliver the product to consumers but most only want your money or personal data so they can steal your identity and commit financial fraud.

Written by
Richard Wilson
View all articles
Leave a reply

Written by Richard Wilson