ZinnoX Cybersecurity

5 Ways To Spot & Report Fake Websites

Fake or malicious websites refer to illegal websites on the internet whose sole aim is to misguide people into sharing personal and financial information to defraud them. Many websites seem legit with engaging content, such as e-commerce sites, scareware websites, and phishing websites. Fake e-commerce websites have been doing the rounds lately because it’s easier to collect user details. Other examples include popups posing as alerts, links on fake social media accounts, phishing emails, and text messages.  We have all probably come across fake websites now and then, but how do we know whether they are legitimate? This 3-minute blog will share tips and tricks to spot fake websites, so you don’t get fooled by scammers! 

Spot The HTTPS Padlock In the URL Bar

When fake websites replicate real ones, you will see that the overall feel is slightly similar to those of the real ones. So the one thing you can look at would be the website’s URL. Remember that two websites cannot have the same domain, so the fake website’s URL would be slightly different. For example: Let’s take an e-commerce site, we all know it would be www.ebay.com, but if there’s a fake website, it would be something like www.ebaay.com. So always try to keep an eye out for details in the URL so you can be cautious of scammers. 

Look out for SSL/TLS Certificate

The second way to verify a website’s legitimacy would be to look at the URLs beginning with HTTPS so you know they are safe and secure to browse. SSL certification is given to websites to indicate their safety so that visitors can rest assured. Although this might not always be the solution, as getting an SSL certificate is sometimes easy, a few websites try to misuse information. So in such cases, the only proven method is to verify the SSL certification by spotting an image of a padlock in the URL bar. That will let us know whether or not it’s valid.

Contains Incorrect Content or Poor Web Design

Although fake websites try to imitate the real ones, sometimes one can spot a few distinctive elements, such as incorrect grammar, fake or no customer reviews, spelling errors, absence of contact details, lousy quality images and random popups/forms to collect personal information. All of the above elements can be used to analyse whether or not a website is legitimate.

Verify Their Social Media Presence

Another way to spot a fake website would be to look out for its social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. Almost all businesses now have a presence and have made their mark by creating engaging posts. So if a company’s website does not indicate any of its social media accounts, chances are that it is illegal and too good to be true.

Use Online Tools To Distinguish Their Security

Many online security tools can help you understand whether or not a website is safe. All you need to do is head over to their websites and copy and paste the website URL that you want to verify. They will quickly run an analysis and provide you with a report showcasing its transparency and risks. Online tools like Virus Total and Google Safe Browsing can help verify fake websites. 


So now that we’ve read about the different ways in which we can spot a fake website, what do we do after that? Well, first things first, we have to report that illegal website so that it can be removed from the internet. Head to the settings page of your computer’s browser and search for an option about reporting malicious websites. Now that we are all well aware of these steps, let’s try to raise awareness among friends and family so they can be cautious and save themselves from internet scammers. 

Posted on: October 9th 2022