As wonderful as the internet is these days (and really, it’s quite miraculous when you think about it), a lot of what happens online is down right scary. The freedom and anonymity provided by the internet also make it a breeding ground for criminals and thieves, many of which are constantly evolving their methods to steal data. One of the oldest methods in the online piracy playbook is the fake or scammer website.
if you’ve been around the web long enough, you’ve likely seen at least one of these, if not a large handful of them. Fake, scammed, or fraudulent websites are designed to trick you into giving up your valuable user information and in general are designed in such a way that those who are, let’s say, “less attentive”, will fall right into the traps laid out by these sites and their shadowy designers.
What kind of data gets stolen using scam websites? Everything you can think of, although these websites typically focus on stealing information that allows them to make money, either immediately or in the long-term. As such, the type of data stolen or the traps set typically focus on:
- Credit card information
- Bank account information
- Social security numbers
- Usernames and passwords
- Physical address
- Private and compromising information
As scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tricks, it’s occasionally difficult to tell when a website might actually be a scam or a conduit to fraudulent material intended to steal your information. Here are a few, easy things to look out for when you feel that a website might not be entirely trustworthy.
Check the website address against the page content
Always check the URL if you ended up on that page after you clicked on a link that redirected you there. This is often the case if you receive links in emails, or click on links from advertisements or those hosted on other websites.
This might be the most obvious way to spot a fake. Scam websites often try to spoof real ones, especially from big name websites, in order to collect your username and password from those sites. These websites are often known as phishing/scammer sites. The name should help clue you into what that entails.
A phishing/scammer website is one that’s designed to lure you in through its design and then catch your private and sensitive information after you hand it right over.
Check for an SSL/TLS certificate and padlock symbol
If there’s one thing internet pirates hate, it’s SSL/TLS certificates. Look specifically for the green padlock symbol next to a website address:
If you see the green lock symbol, that means the website owners have applied for and received a secure SSL/TLS security certificate from a company authorized to sell them. Some security companies, such as Symantec (makers of Norton Antivirus) issues these certificates after extensive background checks on the and verification of website ownership. While the primary purpose of this security is to prevent hacking, the other benefit is that only legitimate websites can obtain them.
We’ve written in detail about what SSL/TLS security means for websites and consumers. In summary, it means the site is not likely to have been hacked, but in principle, it also means that if a site has this type of security legitimately in place, it’s not likely to be a scammed or fake website. So if you see the lock symbol, an HTTPS in the website address, and everything looks as it should (address matches page content), you’re likely good to go.
So Always Check Before Entering Any Details on Any Website And Stay Safe from Scammer
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