Next time you’re shopping online, don’t fall prey to the criminals who set up fake websites to steal your info and your money! Look for these clues…
Fake retail websites can be ferreted out upon closer inspection
Cybersecurity firm Cyren recently revealed that emails with links to fake websites were legion this past Christmas shopping season.
If you happen to land on one of these fake retail websites, you'll notice that they look very legitimate. Yet if you know what to look for, there are a few telltale signs that make them clear frauds.
First, when you land on a website, check the URL in the address at the top of the screen. A very popular fake Michael Kors website that fooled a lot of people looking to buy a luxury handbag was baggoingdae.com. That URL bears no resemblance at all to the real portal, which is michaelkors.com.
Remember, you can always do a Google search with "company name + official site" to find the real site.
Another dead giveaway will be outdated material on the website.
For example, a fake Nike website called sneakernnz.com still has a countdown to Black Friday clock on it in January!
Apparently the criminals created this particular fake Nike site to siphon off traffic during the days leading up to Black Friday and then abandoned it. (By the way, the real Nike website is nike.com.)
And here's another thing to check: The contact address, typically located at the bottom of the page in the footer of the website.
A fake UGG Boots website — bootskest.com — lists its contact address as firstname.lastname@example.org. You would expect it to be a domain name that matches the website URL, i.e. an email that ends in "@ugg.com." (Yes, you guessed it, the real UGG site is ugg.com!)
Finally, when you're on a site, you can look for a validation badge like the Google Trusted Store verification. Just be sure to mouse over it and make sure it leads to a dialog box like the one pictured here. If it doesn't, then it's just a dead link that a criminal has spoofed onto their fake website!
Remember, the warning signs are there if you know what to look for.