Everything You Need to Know About Scamming Websites
By TOI Staff April 2, 2023 Update on : April 4, 2023
All the major businesses run through online platforms directly or indirectly. Gone are the days when everything was done manually. Now there are online setups for almost anything. Almost any field today has become dependent on online websites for smooth running. Hospitals, educational institutions, and other aspects of our lives have become dependent on using websites. But as we know, every good thing has its drawbacks too. In this era of modern technology, where online websites are a source of maintaining order and smoothness, many people also use this as an asset for their gain through lesser routes. Hacking and scamming people through online websites is pretty common. If you are not careful enough while doing something on a random, new website, there are chances that you might get scammed. So, basic knowledge about these scams and how to avoid them is necessary for today’s life. This is also the topic of today’s discussion. Here in this article, we will briefly describe some of the common scams today.
Introduction to Scamming Websites:
Recently, there have been so many issues regarding the safety and security of the users with these kinds of scamming websites. So many users have put forward their fraud complaints against these websites that we felt there was a need for an informative article about the harms of these websites.
This article is purely for an awareness purpose so that you don’t get scammed like others before you have. In the below text, we have had a detailed discussion about how these websites scam people, how they operate, and how they take your personal information from you and use it against you for their use. Also, we’ll tell you how you can adopt some safety measures, so you don’t get shacked. Also, you are more than welcome to share your experiences too. Feel free to name any sort of seemingly fraudulent website that you feel can harm society.
You can post anonymously, so your name doesn’t get out when you comment. With your help, we can more efficiently name these websites. In addition to this, you can personally do your part in this too by reporting these websites. If enough people report a single website, it may get taken down.
Another reason we get scammed by these websites is that we give out our personal information too easily. We don’t consider that a stranger is asking for our sensitive personal information. You should avoid doing such kind of thing. Never give out your information to an unnecessary website. If required, just give out fake information so it can’t be used against you.
Another thing that this article will tell you is how you can differentiate between a safe website and a scamming website. It will allow you to know which websites are safe and which are not.
How to check the authenticity of a website?
Knowing if a website is safe or not is very important. It will enable you to detect these fake websites, and once you know a website is fake, you will deal with it accordingly. You will either block or not use the website on your device anymore. These are some of the ways you can use to test a website’s authenticity:
- Guardio is an internet browser extension you can download to know if the website is fake. It is a legal and tested software and will surely help you in this regard. It is an extension tool that automatically alerts you whenever you visit a fake website. In addition to detecting the website, it also blocks most of them automatically so that you don’t end up opening it. This is essential because some websites can harm your device just by opening/visiting them.
- Website Validator is an online service that you can use to test the authenticity of a website. It is also pretty easy to use. Just open the website validator on your browser and copy/paste the website URL you want to test. You can go to the following link to use the validator https://www.scam-detector.com/validator/.
- YouTube you can also watch different tutorials on YouTube. Many people have posted their ways how you can detect fake websites. You can search for your videos and find the one that best suits you or visit the link below.
Why should you be careful while reporting a fake website?
Once you detect a fake website through one of the methods mentioned above, you have two options. Either you keep quiet about it, or you can report the website and try to get it taken down. Doing the latter seems to be the morally correct one. But there are some parameters that you should keep in mind while reporting the website:
- First of all, make sure that your source is credible enough. Only when you’re sure that the website scams people can you report it. Sharing false information and spreading false accusations is a serious crime, both legally and morally.
- Secondly, if you’re sure that the website is fake, the next step is to report it. You should always anonymously report a website so that your personal information doesn’t get out.
- Lastly, you should ensure you are reporting to a credible platform. Many fraudulent sites provide fake reporting platforms, so your report isn’t forwarded.
Now let’s see some platforms that can potentially scam you.
Fake Online Stores:
One of the common scams today is done by online stores. They are the ones that allow you to browse through their website, where different items of clothing, cosmetics, gadgets, and other items are available. Once you select the item you want to buy, you get taken to the screen where you must put your credit card details, etc. When the purchase is made, you sometimes get the receipt, but the item never gets delivered. You can’t take any action against the website or the store because it is fake. So, while shopping for anything online, always prefer the COD option so that if the item never gets delivered, you don’t have to pay for it. There have been many cases of these kinds of shopping scams, which are becoming more and more common as the number of websites is increasing daily.
Designer replicas scam:
You probably know about the demand for designer replicas. This concept flourishes because people only want to look rich. Many searches have been like, “Is there a store that sells fake designer outfits?”. That’s okay. It’s everyone’s choice. No one can judge them. The only reason for mentioning this is that some websites sell this kind of counterfeit product, but of course, they are shady. They are risky websites that can’t be trusted. So, if you’re trying to find this kind of product, always ensure that the website is real, and you’ll surely get the product you are paying for.
What should we do before buying online?
When we’re buying stuff online, we are more vulnerable to getting scammed. We share all of our information on that particular website or shop including our emails and contact numbers. When you get scammed, you need to take action against it as soon as possible. Moreover, there are many ways to prevent your information from getting leaked. You have to stay more cautious and make sure that you won’t click on any unnecessary links appearing on the screen. You should check the profile of that website, read the review, stalk it completely, ask a few questions, and even ask about their other social media handles. We’ll discuss in detail that what are the necessary steps you should take before buying anything online.
Check the Website on the Internet:
First of all, you should use your internet and check if the website has any history of complaints or scams. You can simply go to Google, and type ‘scam’ after the name of the website. It will show you if there are any complaints registered against that particular site. To be on the safe side, you can open the listings of scam websites and search for its name. If you find no bad history and no record in lists of fraud websites, you’re one step forward to marking that site as a reliable one.
Check if the Website is Authentic:
It matters a lot if a website you’re relying on is credible enough or not. You should check the validity of that website before adding stuff to the cart. People nowadays go for easy routes and shortcuts, so buying anything online is pretty simple compared to going to the market. As the process is easy, it comes along with its struggles and risks. If you go to popular stores like ‘Amazon’ or ‘AliExpress’, you’re able to create your store, right? Similarly, everyone is allowed to create a profile and run it as a shop online. You have to be keen while choosing the shop. Here are a few points you can tick on while looking for a reliable website:
- You can check out the design and layout of the website. You should keenly see if the homepage has clear images and if the site is systematically managed.
- Find the contact details on their site. Make sure that you contact them before buying something so that you can communicate easily if anything goes wrong.
- Look at the website and rate it according to its professionalism. You can check out the color palette, the features, the number of sales, etc.
- A secure and official website has legal website encryption. Its URL starts from “https://” which indicates that it’s a legal website and you can rely on it.
By going through these simple steps, you can capture most scam websites easily. If you’re still confused, we have got a few more ways for you in this article below.
Different Policies a Website Offers:
You must check before buying what are certain policies of the website. These policies help you in different situations like when you are unable to contact the site, when you receive a wrong parcel, or when your order is delayed. Here are a few important policies to tick on:
- Cancellation policy if the order is extra delayed or you’ve submitted the order unconsciously in a hurry.
- The Return policy when your order is delivered wrong.
- The Refund policy is when you’ve already paid for your order through bank transfer but didn’t receive your item.
This information is very vital for you so that you can be on the safe side before ordering anything. You should know all about their return and refund policies so that you can be calm after paying for your order.
Check Out the Description about that Product:
When you’re buying something online, make sure that you read every detail about the product. You’re not in the store so you can’t observe everything on your own. So, you have to be keener while reading about the product, observing its color, measuring its size, etc. You can read about stuff like its material, pros, cons, and warranty. Going through this step before buying anything online will decrease the regret afterward.
Check the Payment Method:
The most important step in buying online is to check the payment method. Before buying anything, go through the site and what means of payment are allowed by them. You can find many options there including,
- Cash on delivery
- Credit Card/Debit Card
- Local third-party companies
Choose any option which looks safer to you and for which you have more security. Make sure that you share your bank details after checking about the safety of a website. As we discussed earlier, you should have a look at that website’s policy regarding refund of payments.
Check Out the Reviews on that Product:
When we talk about the reliability of a website, we always count on the experience of other users. Whatever product you’re about to buy, you should read about it in detail along with its reviews. Most of the customers leave images too along with reviews which makes it easier for you to decide. You can check the number of buyers of that specific product, the rating of that product, and reviews on it. People believe in the credibility of a product when they get to know about the experience of other buyers. So, make sure to go through the item in detail.
List of Scamming Websites: How to Check if a Profile is Fake or Not?
When you get contacted by an unknown number or email, you should check if it is a scam profile or not. These are the certain points you need to see in those profiles:
- First of all, have a look at the Profile photo. It should be a professional picture instead of any downloaded picture from google or a distorted one. Most scam websites don’t have a personalized photo which makes you more suspicious.
- Whenever you’re checking a profile, you go through all the details on their social handle, and especially their most of the fraud sites have no biodata written which makes us wonder about their reliability.
- Check out the Username of the person contacting you. It shouldn’t have many digits in it or a vague name. Professional usernames give you the look of an official profile.
- Find out the contact number of that person on the website. Most legal websites have all the contact information mentioned there.
- You can check the number of followers on that profile. Most scam websites have no interaction online and they tend to have zero followers or followers. This is a clear indication of a scam website.
- Have a look at the content on that profile. Most scam websites don’t post any content. You can see that most pages with no followers and no interaction are only retweeting tweets from other accounts or reposting the stories.
If you are more interested to know about Google Hangouts then you should follow this Google Hangouts Scams List.
Important: How can we Report Scam Websites?
There’s chaos on the internet about scamming websites as their number is rising day by day. When you get to know about lots of scamming websites, you should pass on the information to your family and friends. When you have noticed a fraud site or profile, what’s your next step? How would you deal with it? You can report the site so that it can be prohibited to function online. Here are the ways to deal with such sites:
- You can go to the Safe Browsing page but still, you report the website to Google.
- You can report a scammed site to any antivirus company.
- A report can be submitted to the FTC against scammed websites.
- You can also submit a report to CISA if you find any fraud sites.
How Can You Protect Your Devices from Fraud Websites?
As you know that the incidents of getting scammed are increasing day by day so we can’t end the article without discussing any protective method. Many people search for how they can use the internet safely without worrying about getting invaded by any hacker. We’ve got you one solution through our experience. You can try using VPN!
VPN is a virtual private network service used worldwide for various purposes. It is used for securing your internet connection, maintaining your privacy, and preventing invaders from getting into your device. There are many VPN services online and the most top-rated of them are as follows:
When it comes to selecting the most reliable VPN service, you can opt for SurfShark. There are multiple reasons behind choosing it:
Your private information will be secured.
- It will not reveal your identity online.
- The antivirus work by Surfshark is impressive.
- It has the most user-friendly features.
- You can buy the services of SurfShark with a guarantee.
- You will get an instant notification when your personal information is at risk.
- You’ll not see a lot of unnecessary ads and pop-ups.
All of these features make Surfshark stand out among other VPN services. You can download it now and start using it without any worry about staying safe on the internet!