Hey, have you visited any suspicious websites?
Have you been a victim of any online fraud or online scam?
It’s no surprise that online fraud is growing with the rapid growth of the internet, mobile users, and online shopping.
According to the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC), 68 percent more data compromises are reported in 2021 than in 2020.
Because of the Internet, we can get any stuff we want, from any part of the world. But, we are also more vulnerable to malicious activities online.
Fraudsters are becoming savvier at making fake mobile apps and websites to steal money from people.
It’s important to be careful and not fall prey to everything the Internet throws at you.
Thus, getting educated on cyber security is essential nowadays. It could prevent you from falling for any online scams in the future.
Well,this blog on how to check fake websites can help you out. So let’s get started, with tips on how to check fake websites.
Tip 1. Check the address bar carefully
The first tip on how to check fake websites would be to look at the address bar.
Once you enter a website domain name, look at the address bar.
Check whether the website URL starts with http:// (without S) or https:// (with S).
In technical terms, http (hypertext transfer protocol) is a protocol used for communication.
Sites with https:// are safe to browse. The “s” in “https” stands for secure. However, this does not guarantee that a website is not a scam.
Sites with https:// protocol have a padlock sign at the start.
Websites with http:// are not secure to enter your personal information. You should avoid browsing such sites.
Simply put, do not enter your personal information (especially phone number and credit card information) on websites without https:// protocol.
Some browsers, like Google Chrome, display the “Not Secure” label at the start of the address bar of websites that use just the http:// protocol.
Tip 2: Verify Domain Name
Are you getting redirected to some different website after you enter the domain name in the address bar?
Is this the website you were looking for?
You should look at these things carefully. Scammers are very smart at fooling website visitors. Scammers create websites with addresses that closely match with addresses of popular websites.
Let’s understand this by an example.
Scammers may create websites like flipcart.com, and mintra.com. As you can see these domain names are closely matching with popular e-commerce websites flipkart.com, and myntra.com. Online scammers will make some small unnoticeable changes in the domain name that you cannot even notice easily.
Therefore, always double-check the domain name of the website to verify its correctness for spelling and company logo.
Tip 3. Check Domain Age
Domain age gives a rough estimation of how old a website or web page is. Clearly, an older website will have more age as compared to a newly registered one.
You can get an idea of how old a business is by looking at the domain age. Businesses that have been around for years are more credible and trustworthy.
Usually, scam or fake websites are only active for a short period of time.
How to check domain age?
Online tools like Whois Lookup domain tracker can help you find out how old a website is.
Tip 4. Look for Poor Language and Grammar
On the other hand, scam or fake websites may have poor website structure and excessive presence of grammatical errors. You need to look for these small hints to identify fake websites.
Tip 5. Take a look at the company’s social media presence and reviews
Before making any purchasing decision from any website, you should check the digital footprints of the website. You should do some little research about the company’s online presence.
Does the company share any news, posts or updates on any social media platforms?
Check the company’s LinkedIn profile to see if it has actual employees?
Check if anyone has filed any online complaint or issues related to the website. By doing this, you can avoid online fraud or scams. Do your own research.
Tip 6. Review Contact Us Page
Don’t buy anything from a website that doesn’t have a contact page.
Having a contact us page is crucial for websites.
Contact us page should include email-id, contact form and phone number as a point of communication.
The contact us page creates a sense of trust.
If you have any issues with the purchase, or any technical issues, you should be able to get in touch with someone at the website.
Tip 7. Skip websites with too many pop-ups
Yes, nothing is free and you will see advertising on most of the websites you visit. Because that is one of the ways by which website owners earn money.
Skip websites that are filled with excessive ads more than valuable content. Do not enter your personal information on such websites as you may receive unnecessary promotional emails from unknown websites.
Also, if a website is offering products or services then don’t fall prey to unrealistic offers or deals.
Tip 8. Make sure website offers secure payment options
While doing transactions on websites, the websites should offer secure standard payment options such as UPI Payment, Debit Card, Credit Card, PayPal, etc.
Purchase transactions should be authenticated through CVV and OTP passwords.
Don’t allow websites to save your CVV password.
Don’t make purchases or transactions on websites that ask for wire transfer,money order or any other suspicious transaction method.
Tip 9. Run Google Safe Browsing Diagnostic on Website
Google safe browsing tool tells you whether a website is safe to visit or dangerous.
You just copy the website URL and paste it in Google Safe Browsing Tool.
It will display a transparency report on the same page.
If a website is secure then it will display a message as “No Unsafe Content Found”.
Tip 10. Scan Website against Virus and Malwares
Yes, your system can get infected with viruses and malicious softwares without you knowing it.
There are numerous ways by which hackers deliver viruses and malware into internet users’ machines.
They do it with the help of “Exploit Kits”. These exploit kits hide virus and malware in a program so that it will not be detected automatically. These exploit kits will silently and automatically find and exploit vulnerabilities on your computer as you browse the web.
Therefore, it is not recommended to click on files and programs that you don’t recognise.
So how do you scan a website for virus or malware?
Websites such as Security Check can help you to do website scans.
So, these were some useful tips on how to check fake websites.
The Internet has eased our lives in many ways, but it has also given rise to more cyber crimes.
Be careful before making any purchase on a website or entering your personal information. You might fall victim to online fraud or your personal data might be stolen. Be cyber literate.