4 tips for spotting similar scam websites

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Know the red flags of fake websites in order to thwart cybercriminals. These tips can help you keep your personal information secure.

CHARLOTTE, NC – Criminals will stop at nothing to trick you into giving them access to your personal information, including the use of similar websites.

Fraudulent websites can be extremely similar to the real thing, so the next time you receive an email or text from what appears to be your bank or credit card company linking to a website, beware. The best way to protect yourself from a scam is to learn to spot the red flags.

Here are four steps to spotting an impostor website, according to the Better Business Bureau:

1. Pay special attention to the domain name

Scammers try to trick you into using a domain name similar to the company they are impersonating. It is not uncommon for a fraudulent website to have an extra letter in the domain name or a shortened version of the website’s real name.

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2. Beware of subdomains

A subdomain is an additional name added in front of a website’s domain name. The Better Business Bureau offered this example to further explain the use of subdomains:

“…a scammer might use the domain name netflix.com.movies.com hoping that you won’t notice that the real domain name is actually movies.com.”

Remember that the only thing that matters is last part of the web address, which comes just before the final “.com”.

WCNC Charlotte always asks “where’s the money?” If you need help, email WCNC Charlotte [email protected].

3. Look at the design quality

Spelling mistakes, weird layouts, and continuous pop-ups are all red flags of bad actors.

4. Use a trusted website tracker

Google’s Safe Browsing Tool lets you check the status of any website for free. Click here to use it.

Tip to avoid being scammed

  • emotional appeal
    Any tone that heightens your emotion will inhibit your rational judgment.

  • sense of urgency
    You MUST act now, otherwise.

  • Non-conventional payment request
    Gift cards, prepaid credit cards, bank transfers, etc.

  • Explanations that ring false
    If your new “owner” can’t show you inside the house, it may be because he doesn’t own it.

  • You won, now pay yourselfp
    It’s not a price if you have to pay for it. Taxes, fees, shipping, whatever.

  • Too good to be true
    It’s because it’s not true. Sorry, your long-lost relative didn’t die, leaving you millions. That car you bought online for a third of its Kelly Blue Book Value doesn’t really exist. The son of a billionaire diamond broker didn’t “swipe you right” and fall instantly in love. This work from home that pays you hundreds of dollars an hour to stuff envelopes isn’t real.

Contact Carolyn Bruck at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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