How to spot a fake website – Phishing

In computing, phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an electronic communication. Ever received an email asking you to update your account urgently?  If the answer to this is yes and you often see these kinds of emails in your inbox, then you had seen the first step of phishing. Here are my tips to spot a fake website.

How to spot a fake website – Phishing

Phishing Mobiles and Emails

1] Check Security Signs while doing any money transaction

  • You must always look for “https” on any site you use to enter sensitive information. It includes login pages, online shopping sites, and bank web sites. Notice that, there is an extra “s” in bold which tells that the server is secure. e.g., for yahoo login.
  • Notice the closed padlock/lock on the lower right corner of the browser window.  If you click on it, it will open a window that gives you more details regarding the certificate. Every company that asks you for sensitive information must have a digital certificate, preferably one from an established certificate authority.

2] Misspelled and fake URL

Sometimes a site is replicated so well that you won’t be able to find a difference if its really a fake one. They will have the same design of the original website, and since most of us never look at the URL, we get into the trap. These smart criminals can replicate any web site down to the last detail. It wouldn’t surprise me if they used the same web designer to do it.

  • Misspelled domains are big deceivers. Phishers will purchase a domain name that resembles the real domain. They will replace letters with numbers or with other letters. Pay close attention to the spelling of a domain name, and learn to spot a fake like or
  • Variations of domains should also be a red flag. Don’t click on any email that contains URLs like A legitimate URL should read if it belongs to Google. Anyone could’ve purchased for a scam (I’m just using Yahoo! as an example here).
  • An IP address looks something like Bottom line, never trust emails that point you to URLs that only show an IP address.

3] Extra Tips

  • Ask F-Secure Tool to see if the website is fake or not.
  • Never test web sites to see if they’re legitimate or not. It means entering passwords or personal information. These sites may install malicious software known as key logger software that records everything you type, then sends that information to spammers. Also read our detailed post on, how to detect Hardware KeyLoggers
  • Stay abreast of the latest scams: The FBI’s web site has a list of all the latest scams reported, so check it periodically.
  • If you’re being urged to “verify” sensitive account information, contact the company directly instead. Always type the web site’s address in the address bar instead of clicking links on suspicious emails.
  • PayPal never uses generic greetings in their emails. Next time you get an email from PayPal, check the salutation, as PayPal will usually use your member name.
  • Emails from banks and credit card companies will usually include partial account numbers. Therefore, one should always be suspicious if the message does not contain specific personal information.

4] Test Your Phishing IQ

The Washington Post and MailFrontier have some excellent tests you can try out. Find out how well you recognize a fake. Then come back, and tell me how you did.

Phishing is one of the widespread cybercrimes, according to the FBI, and one that costs consumers millions of dollars each year. These scams have one purpose: to get as much personal information from a user as possible. This includes login information, Social Security numbers, date of birth, and other identifiable information. They can help scammers open up bogus accounts under your name or steal from your existing ones.


  1. Hi I am from India and recently a friend of mine told me that there is a great online shopping site which is sell apple I-phone (unlocked for the company) at a great price. So I visited the site:

    The site looks clean but I dont know why it seems just not right. Can someone find out for sure that they are there for a valid reason or just to fool people.


  2. I made a purchase to this website ( and I have not received the product in which I Purchased. The money has been taking out of my account, they do not have a customer service number for me to contact them regarding my issue. The only source of contact they establish on the website is an email address; which I have used to reach out concerning my purchase. Can someone find out if this website is a fake.


  4. Hi I am from India and recently a friend of mine told me that there is a great online shopping site which sell great products at a great price. So I visited the site:

    The site looks clean but I dont know why it seems just not right. Can someone find out for sure that they are there for a valid reason or just to fool people.


  5. I would just like to ad that you need to check with the BBB, or you could even check the yellow pages, if you have questions about a site is real or not. If they have a business name they should either be in the yellow pages or accredited with the BBB. I would also, check the WHOIS report and see if they have been in business, for as long as they say they have. Stay away from site that have only been up for 1-5 months.

  6. hey,
    i want to buy a websspace to install phpbb and make a forum can u suggest me some cheap and safe webhosts??? where i can install phpbb.

  7. Does anyone know if a URL is legitimate when http is proceeded with the underscore character? ex. _http://…

  8. if any one want to promote website by posting their website banner then visit wwwdotadshomepagedotcom
    its 100% free

  9. hi a friend of mine told me a website which has extremely good prices and i want to buy somethings from there. However i feel that this website might be fake due to the low prices can you look and tell me if it is or not?

  10. I purchased two pairs of ugg boots from this site and paid $160 which has been taken out of my acct. The only contact info is a email address. No phone number, no confirmation email, nothing stated in my “order” status. I’m getting a bad feeling on this one? What can I do if anything and can I get my money back? Anyone else had a problem with this site? Any complaints? Why and how can people get away with this? Can they be prosecuted? Help!!! These boots are all My two girls want for Christmas and it’s now 2 wks. away. INFURIATING

  11. is fake web? because I make an order but just ask me my personal information, but when I try to pay put on the screen Error check you card or try another. please tell me is fake?

  12. Hi I saw a china web sight which is very cheap prices. I did some chatting also and place the a order for a phone and paid us$ 250 by western union. Then they gave me a EMS tracking number. So after 3-4days when I track the package it was delivered to USA. but I am United Arab Emirates. After that I sent several mails and no any reply, Also chatting Is blocked. Pls anybody know if this is fake.

  13. I hope not. I ordered from them 6 days ago with no confirmation email in return or replies to my emails.


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