Falling for fraudulent websites and scams in 2021 can take a serious toll on your bank balance. Shopping online has become essential since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but has also acted as a catalyst for online shopping scams. Because of the pandemic, most of us are spending more time at home. And since many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, some are turning to scams to find a way to make money.
Fraudulent websites are topping the list for online scams in 2021, and it’s crucial to know how to spot them.
How To Spot A Fraudulent Website
Here’s everything you need to know about spotting fraudulent websites in 2021.
Look Carefully At The Website URL Bar
One of the first things you can do to check if the website you’re on is secure, is to check the address bar. The S in the https:// part of the website address stands for Secure. Checking for this is a good first step in identifying if it is a fraudulent website or not. If the website URL includes http:// then it is more likely that it’s a scam website.
Another way to check if a website is secure is to see if it includes a padlock next to the website address. Some internet browsers help their users with a notice that says “Not Secure” when connected to a web address they think isn’t safe.
Check The Domain Name
A common trick among internet scammers is to create fake websites that intend to mimic popular brands. These brands already have a strong and trusted online presence. The scammers are hoping people won’t pay close attention to the website domain name and buy something. It’s always a good idea to check the domain name to make sure it’s the official page of the brand you want to buy goods from. Common domains of fake websites end in .net or replace letters with numbers – like amaz0n.net instead of amazon.com.
Look Out For Poor Spelling and Grammar
Poor spelling and grammar are one of the top signs that a website is fake. It is often an indication that a website has gone up quickly, or by someone who isn’t first language English speaking. A professional website is usually expensive to make and takes time. It’s rather unlikely that it is going to include many typos or bad spelling mistakes.
Check The Domain Age
Checking the domain age of a website is always a good way of figuring out if a website is fake or not. Online scammers will put together a fraudulent website as quickly as possible. If a website hasn’t been around that long then it’s a good sign it’s fake. You can use Whois Lookup domain tracker to find out who the domain name is registered to, and how long the website has been active for.
Check For Legitimate Contact Information
Any reputable brand is going to have a customer service department that you can contact for help. Check the website for contact information like a phone number, office address, or live chat function. If you think the website might be fake, try reaching out to see if anyone answers, or is able to help confirm the website you’re on is the right one.
Tips For Staying Safe From Fraudulent Websites
Now that you know what to look out for to spot a fraudulent website online, it’s important that you always know how to protect your personal information online. Here are some of our top tips to staying safe online:
- Do your research: When shopping on social media it’s not always easy to figure out if you’re buying from a real brand or not. Do your research by looking up past customer reviews or checking if the company exists on Google.
- If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is: If the discount is too big, then it’s likely a scam that you don’t need to fall for!
- Be proactive about protecting your information: Make use of password managers and don’t give out personal information to anyone over the phone.
For the latest on online scams, keep checking our scam fighting blog for updates and stay ahead of the scammers.