Fake websites can be a serious threat to your online security, whether by stealing your personal information or installing malware on your device. Knowing how to identify them is essential for avoiding these threats.
Start by analyzing the source of any website link you plan to click on – search results, social media posts, or even messages from friends.
1. Poor design
Scammers create fake websites to trick people into sharing sensitive information or downloading malware. If a website has lots of spelling, grammar, and capitalization mistakes, it could be a red flag.
Low-quality visual designs and awkward layouts are also warning signs of a fake site. Legitimate sites hire writers and editors to avoid poor language.
A fake website may contain malware that phishes your information, such as keylogger malware or spyware. Use a scam website checker, like Comodo’s SiteInspector, to scan for malicious content.
Scammers often create convincing spoofs of popular websites to steal personal information or money. Look for spelling and grammatical mistakes, pixelated images, or a website address that doesn’t match the official one.
3. No contact information
Fake websites are created by scammers to steal your passwords, personal information and money or infect your device with malware. The best way to protect yourself is to always check the website address in your browser’s address bar before entering sensitive information or clicking on links from unfamiliar emails, online posts and DMs.
Also look for poor grammar, spelling and capitalization as well as pixelated images and graphics. Legitimate companies put a lot of effort into their websites Is Legit or Scam Reviews and don’t make these mistakes.
4. No social media presence
Fake websites thrive during holiday shopping and super sales events, attempting to trick deal-hungry consumers into buying products that don’t exist or sharing sensitive information (like passwords and financial information) or downloading malware. Look for a blue checkmark on social media accounts belonging to celebrities, influencers, or reputable brands.
Also watch out for low quality visuals and awkward designs. These may indicate that the site is fraudulent.
5. No reviews
Brands can use review checkers to identify fake reviews, and then take steps to address them. Often, these include things like identifying reviewers with dubious names and avatars, or determining whether or not they’ve shared positive and negative feedback before.
Fake websites typically have low ratings and a limited number of reviews. This is a warning sign that the website could be fraudulent.
6. No industry awards or certifications
While some fake websites are legitimate and can deliver products you order, most are designed to trick you into sharing personal or financial information, buying products that don’t exist, or downloading malware.
Look for sites with a lot of spelling and punctuation mistakes, a lot of capitalization, or phrasing that doesn’t sound right. Also, check out their domain registration and how long the site has been active.
7. No “About Us” page
Scammers use fake websites to trick people into revealing sensitive information, downloading malware, or even purchasing products that don’t exist. This is why you need to pay extra attention to small details when shopping online.
For example, if a website’s “About Us” page is missing contact information and only offers a generic contact form, this may be a sign that it’s fraudulent.
8. No payment options
According to cybersecurity experts, look for a padlock symbol next to the URL, which shows that any information you send to that site can’t be intercepted. But scammers can also forge or buy these padlocks, so that doesn’t always mean a website is legitimate.
Fraudsters create fake websites to trick unsuspecting consumers into sharing their sensitive information, downloading malware or buying products that don’t exist. With a little bit of research, you can avoid falling victim to these scams.
9. No SSL/TLS certificate
Authenticated sites use SSL certificates to encrypt information that’s shared between the website and browser. Using a fake certificate means that the website isn’t encrypted, which can lead to data theft and malware attacks like keyloggers or spyware.
Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution includes safe browsing tools that scan websites and warn you when you are visiting a fake site. It also comes with a domain takedown service that removes spoofing websites from the web.
10. No security measures
The internet is a dangerous place and millions of people are victimized each year. It’s vital that you understand how to identify fake websites and take steps to protect yourself.
Fake sites are created by scammers to steal sensitive information like passwords, personal or financial details and/or download malware. Scammers often use fake websites as part of phishing attacks by sending scam emails, texts or DMs with links to fake websites.