There are at least 10 ways to detect a fraudulent web site. I am an expert on personal security and identity theft, and a speaker and trainer on information security and personal protection. One of the areas I frequently discuss is that of online security, which is becoming increasingly relevant as technology continues to evolve: not just for legitimate uses, but for criminal uses.
Here are 10 ways you can tell if a web site is fake (fraudulent):
Incorrect URL. If when visiting your bank’s (or whatnot’s) site and you notice the URL is different, assume that the site is a fake.
Nosy requests. Your bank won’t ask via e-mail for your PINs or card information. Be suspicious of sites (or e-mails) requesting your SSN or other sensitive information.
Hover. Hover the mouse pointer on the link to see if the link site matches the site that the e-mail came from.
Confirmations. Forget e-mails that ask you to confirm private information.
Your name. A legitimate e-mail from your bank or business will address you by name rather than as “Valued Customer” (or something similar).
Typos. A keystroke error in the message indicates a scam, since a legitimate message from, say, your bank, would never let a message get out with a mistake.
Public Internet account. Before clicking on that e-mail link, inspect the sender’s address. Don’t trust it if it’s from a public account, even if it claims to be from your bank.
Fake password. Type in a phony password; a fake website is likely to accept it.
Low resolution images. A tip-off to a false site is poor image quality of the bank’s logo or other graphics.
URL. If the URL is preceded by a padlock image followed by https://, it’s secure.
Hit delete. How about just hitting the delete button whenever an e-mail comes to you from an unfamiliar sender? After all, if any legitimate entity needs to contact you about something urgent or crucial, they would have your phone number, right? They know your name, too. “Just say no” to opening unfamiliar or suspicious looking e-mails.
Always take the time to see if the web site you’re visiting shows any suspicious signs that it might be a fake. This small amount of extra time is very well worth it!