16/06/20

Is this website genuine?

Fake websites! A rapidly increasing problem and one which can prove extremely costly in terms of financial or personal information being stolen.

News of people and businesses being hit by some scam or other is, unfortunately, an everyday occurrence in today’s world with the rise in phishing websites being particularly prevalent.

Fake websites can be set up very quickly and can easily catch a user out if their guard is relaxed for the briefest of moments. The sites may look genuine but all too often are not and fraudsters are banking on people not taking the time or having the inclination to check things out properly.

So, how can I protect myself?

When visiting websites, especially after being directed there by an advert or email:

  • Stay alert
  • Always be suspicious
  • Take the time to check things out
  • Assume everything is a con until you are satisfied it’s not

There are a number of things which may help in coming to the conclusion of a website being fake or genuine – but remember that some are very sophisticated and even if a site appears to conform to your checklist it may still be fake.

Scammers are always looking for ways to gain access to your most private financial and personal information, which is a particular concern if you’ve decided to buy something online from a company for the first time.

What should I be looking for?

Check out the website for anything which doesn’t seem right. Some sites have a padlock next to the web address which, if you click on it, will provide more security details. Others may have a “not secure” alert next to the web address. If this is the case, proceed with caution.

It’s worth remembering that the “s” in the “https:” web address stands for security, so if you are faced with an “http” address without the “s” then beware. But having the “s” included doesn’t necessarily mean the site is safe!

Domain name and age

Check out the domain name and age which can give an indication of a fake site, scammers like to mimic domain names of big reputable companies which give the appearance of authenticity but there are ways, such as Google’s Safe Site Search, which can help.

Fake logos

Fake logos can be an effective deception and difficult to spot. Safety certification logos should give the option of clicking on them to obtain more information about the site’s security. If it doesn’t then it’s probably fake.

Customer reviews

No customer reviews could be a tell-tale sign of fake and poor grammar or spelling may again set alarm bells ringing as most websites want to portray an image of professionalism – but fraudsters can also use the right punctuation and correct spelling, so that doesn’t necessarily follow, either!

Email or text links

Beware of email or text links and requests to confirm personal or financial details, toughen up the security on your devices, install antivirus software, use virus scans to help you stay secure and, remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

For more information, call us on 01743 290588 or email katy@pcnetsolutions.co.uk