The internet has opened up a whole new world of convenience – you have an abundance of information and online shopping websites right at your fingertips.
With this new world of convenience, however, comes the risk of being fooled by a fake website scam. As we continue to make more and more purchases online we need to become more educated on the potential scam threats there are, how they work, how to spot them, and how to protect ourselves from falling for them.
How Do Fake Website Scams Work?
Fake websites can be in the form of online shopping websites that appear to sell products and services, or there are fake copycat websites.
With the introduction of virtual assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Roku, there have been some fake copycat websites to come about recently.
The way that the scam works is that when people who have bought the virtual assistant and need help setting it up or answering a question, go online to search for a customer support number. Instead of choosing the legitimate website, they click on a fake copycat website and call the phone number listed. The person on the other end of the line is a scammer and convinces them they need to pay an activation fee to set-up the device.
How To Spot A Fake Website Scam?
If you’ve ended up calling a fake helpline and the person on the other end is trying to scam you, they will almost always ask for some form of payment.
When a scammer asks you to make a payment they will often ask for your credit card details or suggest you can make a payment using a Visa gift card. This is a sure sign that you’re being scammed as a real customer support agent will never ask you for payment upfront, or for your credit card information over the phone.
Some Clear Signs A Website Is Fake
When shopping online, or searching for customer support phone numbers, be sure to take note of the following signs that a website is fake:
- A fake website will show that it is not secure. If you’re using a dedicated web browser such as Google Chrome or Safari, a secure website will show a padlock next to the URL bar. If a website is not secure but appears to be imitating a legitimate brand, then it is most likely fake.
- Low-quality images on a website are a sure sign that is fake.
- Spelling errors, poor punctuation, and broken English are all signs that a website is fake.
- Avoid domain names that end in anything other than .com, such as .net or .org.
Protect Yourself From Fake Website Scams
As we move more of our lives online it is really important to be vigilant and stay on top of the latest internet fraud attempts and online scams.
Scammers will target people of all backgrounds, gender, race, and age, so we all need to make sure we are staying informed of the latest scam trends, such as social media scams.
Here are some useful tips to protect yourself from fake website scams:
- Make use of a dedicated web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Brave, which can be set to save and encrypt your passwords and credit card information. Encrypted information means that it cannot be hacked by anyone if you do accidentally visit a fake website.
- Never give out personal information, or make payments over the phone.
- Pay attention to detail when shopping online, and only make a payment when you are sure the website is legitimate.
- Read reviews. If a business is legitimate, it will usually have other customer reviews or be verified by Google.
- Ask a friend or family member if you are still unsure before making a payment online.
The internet is a wonderful thing that has made information, and goods and services, so much more easily accessible. With great things, however, comes great responsibility.
It is important to use the internet with caution as there are always going to be people out there who will try to take advantage. One of the best tips to protect yourself from fake website scams, or any other form of internet fraud, is to keep checking our blog for more information and updates!