The emergence of technology didn’t stop at just making daily life easy. It also introduced illicit activities such as scam websites.
Scam websites are illegal internet websites used to trick users into sharing their personal or financial data which would be used for fraudulent activities.
As much as the internet presents thousands of benefits, not everyone on the web operates with a noble purpose. Right among the useful ones are those created to carry out nefarious activities ranging from identity theft to financial fraud.
In this article, we will attempt to protect our readers by showing you how to identify these websites.
How Scam Websites Operate
The goal of a scam website is either to get your personal information or financial information. Whichever, they operate by either giving out misleading information or by promising exciting rewards in exchange for a financial service.
They work in a way that misguides users and they are usually advertised to users via social media, emails, pop-ups, text messages, etc. SEO is sometimes manipulated to ensure that their sites appear in top positions during a web search.
They use exciting baits to catch users’ attention and draw unsuspecting victims to the websites. Website visitors would then be coaxed into taking actions that will expose their personal details or devices. These websites then harvest personal information and use them for various illegal purposes, or infect devices with malicious software intended for harm.
Scammers manipulate their victims to believe that their websites are reliable and valid. While some are deliberately designed to look exactly like those operated by companies or government agencies, others are designed in such a way that they create a great effect on the emotions of users thereby making them ignore their natural doubtful instincts.
How to identify scam websites
- Emotional language: If the site intensifies your emotions, especially if you sense the feelings of urgency, fear, or optimism, you may need to explore it with care.
- Absence of identifying Web Pages: A valid website will always have an “About-Us” page or a “Contact” page. If these are missing, it is safest for you to exit the website.
- Odd grammar: A scammer is never very careful, so you may want to look out for grammatical errors, wrong spellings, or wrong use of plural and singular words.
How to avoid scam websites
- Always use a secured internet connection. When visiting a website that demands personal details or financial data, the company’s name should come after the URL along with a locked padlock that signifies that the website is secured. If this is not available or your browser warns you that the site doesn’t have an up-to-date security certificate, It could mean that it’s a scam website.
- Another sign of a secured site is when the “HTTP” URL in your browser comes with an “S”. The “S” signifies that the site is a secured one. So if you have just “HTTP” it’s a sign that you should be careful as all secured websites come with ” HTTPS.”
- Do an internet search. If you have doubts about a website, it’s good to do an internet search on it just to have a piece of background information. From what others say about it, you will be able to decipher if it’s a scam website or not.
- Check the domain name. Most scam websites in a bid to model what the official websites do usually take domain names that look or sound similar to the legitimate ones. Addresses ending with “.net or .org” should be given maximum attention as these kinds of domain names are less common for online shopping sites. If you want to be extra certain, you can check who registered the domain name on Whois.net.
- Don’t make payment by bank transfer. if you are convinced that the site is legit, protect yourself more by making payment via debit card. This is to protect you in future should any issue arise. If you purchase something that is fake or non-existent, you have the right to ask for a refund if you paid with a card. But with bank transfer, there is little or nothing that can be done.