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Ways to Identify Fake Websites

  • Highlights

  • Fake websites have become all too common. They prompt users to transact, leading to financial losses

  • Look out for misspelt domain names, poor content, no contact details

  • Always use domains with HTTPS:// prefix

It's an all-new digital world. From shopping for groceries to banking and investing, we use mobile devices and computers to carry out our day-to-day work. The growth of the digital economy has, however, added to several online frauds, cybercrimes, phishing, and vishing attempts. The one rising concern across the country and even across the world is the rise of fake websites. These are the sites that impersonate authentic financial websites, shopping portals and lure in traffic, prompt users to share financial information, and then defraud them. Therefore, it is now very important to learn to identify fake websites.

Here are some things you may want to look out for –

Fake websites example for online fraud

  • Misspell URLs - Most fake websites are misspelt, meaning that they use different spellings of reputed brands. They could also have a different extension such as .org, .com, .in. These small changes are used todupe unsuspecting customers who misspell the website address. Fake website examples could include something like http://bjajfinserv.com. This is an attempt to imitate our website https://www.bajajfinserv.in/

  • Look for a TLS/SSL certificate - TLS (Transport Layer Security)/SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) are security certifications for a website. A secure website can be identified by a padlock icon. The SSL certification is installed by the server hosting the website but the padlock icon or the certification itself are displayed to the user, signalling that the site is authentic and secure.

    Fake websites example for online fraud

  • Https protocol - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure protocol that is used by TLS or SSL certified sites. The URL address is prefixed with HTTPS:// rather than HTTP://. Most authentic bank and NBFC websites start with HTTPS:// A number of popular e-commerce websites also use the HTTPS protocol.

  • Financial security certification – E-commerce portals or banking and financial websites carry certifications from DigiCert, Verisign, or Symantec. Most fake websites carry an image of the certification too. To recognise if a website is secure and authentic, click on the certification logo and check if the website with the certification details opens up.

  • Site content – Fake and lookalike websites are often poorly designed. The content may have spelling errors and/or grammatical errors. Do take a closer look at the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages. Verify if the contact details are genuine. Very often, fake websites will not list contact details but will prompt you to fill out a form instead.

  • Domain checker – There are a number of websites that check domain names and verify their authenticity. If you have access to one of these, it is best to check the age and authenticity of the domain before using it for transactions.

It is important to know that despite all your precautions if you fall prey to a fake website, you must act immediately. Inform your bank to block further transactions. Register an FIR at the local police station and register a complaint with the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal at https://cybercrime.gov.in/Default.aspx

Savdhaan Rahein. Safe Rahein.

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