How do I find a fake website

What are fake websites and how can I avoid them?

While the internet is very useful in many ways, it's also easy to fall for. Among the millions of legitimate websites vying for our attention are those that are designed for all kinds of fraudulent purposes, from identity theft to credit card fraud.

These fake websites take various forms, from posting misleading information to promising rewards in financial transactions. Some are deliberately designed to look legitimate and trustworthy, as if they were run by government organizations, for example. But your goal is always the same: to trick you into giving away your personal or financial data.

Recognize forgeries

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can protect yourself from fraudulent websites and keep your family and wallet safe while browsing the World Wide Web. It might seem obvious, but first, take a close look at how a website is written and designed. Are the design and text of the quality you would expect from a legitimate website?

Look out for things like misspellings, non-idiomatic or stilted language, or obvious grammatical errors such as improper use of the plural and singular. In addition, a properly designed business website should have basic pages such as a contact and information page. If you are not sure, give the company a call. If it's a cell phone number or if the call is not answered, be careful. It is never a good sign if you cannot verbally contact a company.

Check domain name

Websites pretending to be a legitimate website often use domain names that look or sound similar to legitimate website names. For example, instead of “FBI.gov”, a fake website could read “FBI.com” or “FBI.org”. Pay special attention to addresses that end in “.net” or “.org” as these types of domain names are much less common for online shopping websites.

If you want to do more research, you can check out websites like LookWhoIs.net and Whois.net to see who registered the domain name or URL. These searches are free.

Pay attention to the method of payment

It is a good practice to never pay for anything through direct bank transfer. If you make a transfer to a bank account and the transaction is fraudulent, you won't get a penny of your money back. Paying with a credit card gives you at least some protection in the worst-case scenario.

Too good to be true

Giving you unimaginable luxuries in exchange for a moment of your time or minimal effort is a successful practice by scammers. It dates back to the time of the snake oil sellers in the Wild West, who were then after the helpless settlers. Always ask yourself if something sounds too good to be true.

Does the website sell tablets, PCs or designer shoes at an extremely discounted, unbelievable price? Does a health product website promise muscle building or extreme weight loss in just two weeks? What about a foolproof method of making a fortune? Always assume the following: If something is too good to be true, it probably isn't true either.

To search on the internet

If you are still unsure about a website, do some research on the internet to see what other people think of it. A company's reputation - good or bad - usually spreads like wildfire online. If others have had bad experiences with a website, there are likely to be comments on the internet. Look for reviews on websites like Trustpilot, Feefo or Sitejabber to find out if someone has fallen for the website in the past.

If you don't find a bad review, you don't automatically assume everything is fine as it could be a new deceptive website. Consider all other factors to make sure you don't become the first victim.

Always use a secure connection

Whenever you visit a legitimate webpage that requires you to enter financial or sensitive information, the company name should be visible in the browser address bar next to the URL, along with a lock icon indicating that you are signed in over a secure connection. If you don't see this icon, or if your browser warns you that the website's security certificate is out of date, you need to be extremely careful. Always use world-class security software to increase your personal safety and provide additional protection.

You should never be sure of yourself and just click links to open a webpage. Instead, enter the web address manually or save it as a bookmark. Unscrupulous operators often acquire domain names that look and sound similar at first glance. By entering the URL yourself or saving the correct URL, you provide additional protection.