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How to Identify Fake Websites

  • Highlights

  • Beware of fake websites that resemble banking websites, e-commerce portals, financial management sites etc.

  • Check the web URL, the content, and the security seal to establish the genuineness of a website

  • Never share secure financial data with any suspicious website

The number of people using the internet to shop, bank and make transactions is unprecedented. More and more people are starting to realise the convenience of using the 'online' experience. While the convenience offered by banking websites, e-commerce portals, and financial management applications are all real, there is an inherent threat in these that we must stay protected against. Fake websites that look real have grown in number, and scammers are using these websites to steal data, money, and identity. Let's understand how these fake websites work and how we can stay protected.

How Fake Websites Work

  • Scammers create websites that closely resemble banking websites, search engines, investment and financial sites and popular e-commerce portals. The URL of these fake websites, the content, and the logo closely resemble the original site but could have some spelling errors or minor changes

  • The link to the fake websites are sent to unsuspecting internet users through emails, text messages, or posted on social media networks.

  • When someone clicks these links, they are asked to enter secure personal or financial data. Some may be prompted to enter OTP, CVV, account passwords, or PINs. These are used by scammers to steal information, identity, and money.

Beware of Fake Helpline Numbers

In some cases, fake websites are also used for advertising "helpline" numbers. These are NOT the company's or institution's helpline numbers but go back to the scammers themselves. The scammers receive calls meant for the bank/company and try to persuade the user to part with confidential information.

How to Identify Scam Sites

how to identify scam sites
  • Check the URL- Fake websites always use a misspelt form of the bank or financial company's name as their URL. Sometimes they can use a different extension as well

  • Check security indicators- Authentic shopping, banking, and financial websites use the HTTPS:// protocol. This is seen as the prefix to the web address. Fake websites use HTTP:// instead

  • Use browser support- Most browsers offer the padlock symbol and mention the words "Verified company" when you type in the URL of a genuine banking or e-commerce site, in the case of fake sites, the address bar may read "Not Secure", and you are unlikely to find the padlock icon

  • Look for trust seals- Genuine websites use trust seals or secure site seals, such as Verified by Visa, Verisign etc. There are small badges issued to websites displayed as a sign of genuineness

how to identify scam sites

How to Stay Protected

  • Check the URL, security indicator, trust seal of the website.

  • Identify fake websites through spelling errors, poor grammar, and distorted logos. Fake sites often feature these.

  • Use fake website identifiers or website reputation checkers. These are search engines that often reveal fake websites.

  • Do not click on unverified links that are received through email or text messages. Delete them immediately.

  • Never enter secure credentials such as OTP, CVV, passwords etc., on any suspicious website. Never share these details with anyone over the telephone.

It is important to remember that awareness and vigilance can help keep you from falling prey to scammers.

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

Read more:
• Cautionary Note - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/cautionary-notice-new.pdf
• Infosec Page - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/infosec-pages
• Fraud Awareness Blog - https://www.bajajfinserv.in/insights/fraud-awareness

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