3% of websites selling fake?
A new study by our partner Scamadviser
If you have ever been fooled by something like a fake facebook raffle, you probably know how easy it is for scammers to create a fake website that looks exactly like the original one by the brand or company. Even if this isn’t the way they scam, websites that look like legitimate online shopping platforms pop up more and more.
Our partner Scamadviser recently conducted a study and found that out of the 22.5 million websites in its database - around 3% were fraudulent, mostly selling counterfeit products. They all had a trust score below 30% which means Scamadviser considers them highly likely to be fake. The algorithm Scamadviser uses takes a number of different things into account like IP address, availability of contact details and reviews on other websites.
What should I do if I think a website is fake?
There can be a number of things that make you think a website is fake, or it might be just a gut feeling you have. Either way there are things you can do if you believe a website is not authentic.
Check the URL
Most scammers will use a “vanity” URL that is very similar to a legitimate brand. But when you actually click through check the URL as it might be a very similar word to the brand name, but not an exact match.
Check the security
Most legitimate sites will go out of their way to ensure they have a secure connection. You can check this by ensuring there is a “https” just before the URL. Most fake sites won't bother with this, so the connection will just say “http”. A “secure” site will also display a green lock icon in the address bar so this is something to also look out for.
There are a few other things you can look at on the URL that might indicate a “fake” site:
- Multiple underscores or dashes or random punctuation
- Sites that use a legitimate brand name with one letter changed, like “Amaz0n”
- Sites that copy the template or layout of really well-known sites like Wikipedia
- Domain extensions like “biz” and “info” can also indicate sites that are not legitimate
Look at the content
Looking at the content of a website can give you an idea if it is fake or not. Fraudsters don’t often worry about the smaller details as they usually only operate the websites for a short period of time. Broken English, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are all indicators of websites.