Thursday, November 30, 2023

Cybersecurity Guide: How can you Identify a Fraudulent Website?

The internet world is changing its game and you need to be extremely cautious about the pages you visit, the links you click on, and the people you converse with. With practically everything being digitized lately, comes the increase of cybercrimes. It can be in any shape and form, and in most cases, you wouldn’t even be able to detect it. There are only a few individuals who’ve managed to stop cyberattacks in its tracks.

So, how does this affect you – the user?

Keeping aside apps and emails, websites are where the most common cybercrimes prevail. There are only a handful of reliable websites in general, and the rest of them are scams, frauds, and a phishing net to trap users.

What if I told you that with simple cybersecurity measures, you’ll be able to detect a fake website from the real one? Sounds simpler said than done, am I right? But, with time and practice and a lot of cybersecurity awareness, you’ll be able to protect your digital life.

Cybersecurity measures to protect you on fraudulent websites

Before moving ahead with how to identify a fake website, here are a few cybersecurity measures you need to consider before entering fake or malicious websites.

  • Do a thorough sweep of the website. Look up the URL and see if the domain name is authentic. You’ll be able to check it on WHOIS.
  • Use a security software like a VPN that will help protect you online from unknown sources. There are many top providers that offer cheap VPN services. It’ll allow you to access websites through an encrypted tunnel securing your private information.
  • If you’re shopping online, make sure you don’t opt for online payments. Make sure the product reaches you first and then pay for it.
  • Look for multiple user reviews.

What does a fake website look like?

To be honest, it looks just as real as the original. This is what makes it so difficult for users to identify. You’ll find fraud business websites, social media platforms, banking, vacation, e-commerce portals and much more online. All have one agenda in mind, and that is to steal your data and sensitive information. The worst part is most fake websites get away with stealing user information, credit card details and more.

Even though that above may be true, there are still certain traits that fake websites come with that will allow you to identify them.

Here’s how you spot the not:

Domain name

The first thing you look at, is the domain name. There can be a hundred copycats out there, but each one is always different. Let’s create an example.

 Let’s say you’re looking for a particular brand called PUMA. Since this service is a huge brand on its own, why would it need 2 or 3 other websites to advertise sales?

PUMA would rather advertise these discounts on their own page knowing that it’s driving the most traffic. Always do a Google search of the domain name. If it’s authentic, it’ll have multiple other sources of it all over the internet. The same goes for other websites that land bigger fish, like a banking website.

Incomplete information

Never blindly sign any form or click on any link without double checking the source. Fake websites usually ask you to fill forms and provide little to no information like their contact number, a location, an email address, policies etc. That immediately should send out red flags.

Even if some contact information is provided, it wouldn’t hurt to call that number, email them etc. and wait for a response. Most authentic websites or businesses always return calls almost immediately. If no one seems to be responding nor provide you with any meet up location (known location) that should alarm you.

SSL certificate

Make sure that the website you visit is SSL. This will secure all your data and personal information from leaking or getting exposed. Only companies or businesses that have been through several validation and audits can confirm authenticity. Secondly, always take a look at the URL of the website. It should be HTTPS not HTTP.

The language barrier

Quality is key, and everyone who runs a successful business website always knows that the language, grammar, spelling etc. all have to be top-notch. Always skim through a website, check for errors, little spelling mistakes, authentic images, etc. Yes, this may not seem like an ideal thing to do, but it does help in the long run.

For instance, you’re living within an Asian country, and the website you’re visiting offers a deal on haircuts. The website is loaded with copyright images from other websites located in Europe or America.

Discounts and deals appear off

There are certain websites that you visit that claim they’re the sub-branch of bigger websites. For instance, let’s say you saw a dress for $24 on the Shien website, and you found another copycat web-page offering the same dress for $23.98. Don’t you think that’s a little odd considering real websites always offer a round figure?

You need to keep your eye out for such details that could save you from stolen information or credit card numbers.

To conclude

There are many circumstances where entering a website can make or break your online safety. It’s so important to understand that cybersecurity measures need to be taken seriously. Cybercrimes have skyrocketed and are continuing to increase day by day.

With simple knowledge and reading, you’ll be able to identify a real website from a fraudulent one. And, who knows, someday you might even be able to help someone else with that kind of knowledge.

However, before going online, always make sure you’re using a security tool to add extra protection. There are quite a few VPN providers that come with affordable deals and great service. It can help shield your data from websites that retain it.

Author/Bio: Jade Nazareth is a writer for topvpnservice. She takes avid interest in writing cybersecurity how-to guides and blogs on reliable security software reviews. She aims to inform the general public about the need of cybersecurity measures.


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