How to check if a website is safe: an 11-step guide Norton

how to check fake website

There are so many different types it’s vital you get clued up before heading online because they’re becoming more convincing by the day. You can report the fake website to Microsoft by submitting its URL on the Microsoft Security Intelligence page. You can report the fake website to Google by submitting its URL on the Google Safe Browsing page. Checking the link destination should be the first step before opening any link.

They also suggest that thanks to the trend towards improving organizational security, hackers will be more inclined to attempt to exploit vulnerabilities like network appliances and VPN gateways. This involves scammers recreating company VPN login pages and extracting victims’ details to access a whole network. The details you get can differ depending on the certificate type. But you’ll be able to see the domain in the certificate details, which would reveal the website’s actual domain, even if the scammers tried to fool you by piling on subdomains.

how to check fake website

Other fraudulent websites try to scare you into downloading malware by warning about viruses on your device and offering software to solve the problem. Scammers create fake websites to persuade you into sharing sensitive information, such as account passwords, payment details, or personal information they can use to steal your identity. Some fake websites can even infect your device with malware or trick you into buying non-existent or counterfeit products.

What are scam websites, and how can you tell if a page is fake?

Consider signing up for Aura to stay safe with everything you do online. Aura proactively protects you against phishing sites, monitors your credit and sensitive information for signs of fraud, and secures your devices against scammers. Read on- and off-site reviews for mentions of fraud, non-delivery, or even identity theft. Scammers often create fake bot accounts on review sites in order to build trust. If you’re using a computer, you can hover over the link with your cursor. If it shows a different domain than what you expected, it may be unsafe.

how to check fake website

Go to your favorite search engine, type in the site name, and add “reviews” at the end of your query. The first step to avoiding fake websites is to know what you’ll see if you ever inadvertently land on an unsafe site. Most modern browsers are designed to make navigating the internet easier and safer. If you visit a site with known safety issues, the browser will usually inform you by presenting a fullscreen warning about the dangers of continuing to that page. Sites offering goods and services dirt cheap, $100 vouchers for shopping, and iPhone giveaways are a few examples of website scams you’ll encounter online. Some fake websites are obvious, but others may fool even the most tech-savvy.

What Are Fake Websites? How Do Scammers Use Them?

Data submitted here is shared with security companies (terms of use). Also, report the website to your local police and authorities, especially if you have already fallen victim to it. Visit our Report cybercrime page to find the links for reporting cybercrime in different countries. Meanwhile, the subject reveals to whom the certificate is issued. If the organization is not the company that should be responsible for the website, that’s another red flag.

  1. For example, scammers often use domain names that are similar to — or even contain — the official URL within the fake domain name.
  2. In the example above, it’s clear that the actual link is leading to another site.
  3. Install Norton 360 Deluxe to stay safer when browsing and shopping online.
  4. They pose as health insurance, government, bank, or other authoritative institutions.
  5. Using web security tools like Norton 360 Deluxe can help block hackers and protect against fake sites, helping to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.

It’s indicated by a padlock symbol before the URL and HTTPS prefix in the web address bar. Scammers can buy ads and invest in search engine optimization, so their websites appear at the very top of search engine results. Enter the website’s URL and you’ll be able to see details such as the owner’s organization name, country of registration, and age of the domain. It’s probably a fake website if the company claims to be registered in the United States, but their Whois Lookup query shows that they’re in another country. Still have questions about how to check if a website is safe to buy from or visit?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a digital certificate that certifies that a website is legitimate and that it offers encryption to protect personal information and financial data. In order for a site to have an SSL, they have to prove to the issuer of the certificate that they are who they claim to be. If you’re lucky and hackers only install adware on your device, you’ll see many unwanted ads. Phishing scams and fake websites are a huge problem, so many tools are available to combat them.

Learn About Scams

If a site doesn’t have a privacy policy, it may mean that they don’t collect any data, or it could mean that they don’t want to let you know what information they are collecting. After graduating with a philosophy degree from the University of Bristol in 2018, Aaron became a researcher at news digest magazine The Week following a year as editor of satirical website The Whip. Freelancing alongside these roles, his work has appeared in publications such as Vice, Metro, Tablet and New Internationalist, as well as The Week’s online edition. There are also some simple precautions you can take and some things to be aware of that go a long way to protecting yourself from these sorts of scams. URLs, when you type them into the address bar, command whatever browser you’re using to source that specific page. Although every website has an IP address, this is just a sequence of numbers and it would be impossible to remember even one or two addresses, so URLs help give these sites much more relevant signifiers.

Here’s how you can make sure that you’re not dealing with a fraudulent website. Aura’s app keeps you safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft. Everyone has their definition of how many pop-ups are too many, but if a site has so many pop-ups that you can’t actually navigate it, that means there are too many. If there are multiple pop-ups and none are related to the site you tried to visit, that’s another sign that you may be on an unsafe website. If a site feels a little sketchy, or if you want to make a purchase but don’t want to trust your financial information to a company you don’t know, reach out using the contact information.

FAQs about how to know if a website is safe

These are all signs that the website uses a higher level of security — known as an “Organization Validation (OV) certificate” — which is harder for scammers to fake. Sites that are riddled with design issues and spelling and grammatical errors could be a sign that a site isn’t safe. Pharming attacks and spoofed sites are designed to trick you into providing your personal and financial information to what appears to be a site you already know and trust. However, scammers will often make mistakes when it comes to the text and functionality of these sites. If your browser didn’t provide you with a warning about a site, but you still don’t feel great about sharing your information or making a purchase, you can double-check it using a site checker. A website safety checker like Google’s Safe Browsing site status page will let you know if a website is unsafe or if a previously trustworthy site has been compromised or has unsafe elements.

Social media and online forums are full of fake posts and comments written by bots and trolls, so spreading fake websites there is not uncommon. You add items to the cart, go to the payment page, and submit your payment information. Scammers get your payment card details like the CVV code, while you wait for items that never arrive and find suspicious purchases on your next bank account statement. Sometimes the goal of a fake app or website isn’t to steal your information, passwords, or money — but to infect your device with malware. The website should also include basic legal information, such as its terms and conditions, privacy policy, and data collection policy.

Scam Video Testimonials

It is calculated using the information contained in your Equifax credit file. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you receive with Aura is not the same score used by lenders to evaluate your credit. Be cautious if you run into multiple generic reviews that are unusually positive and lack accurate descriptions of the product experience. VPNs reroute all your traffic through private servers, masking your IP address and enhancing your online privacy. They have a multitude of other benefits too, and there are lots of options – so check out our in-depth provider analysis to see what the best VPNs for 2024 are. After reading this guide, you’ll hopefully be a bit more clued up on fake URLs and exactly what to look for when you’re deciding whether to click on a link you’ve been sent or seen.