How To Identify Fake Websites

How To Identify Fake Websites

Unfortunately, many swindlers on the Internet lure visitors into subscription traps, rip off customers or are simply after your data to resell it. In short, there are numerous rip-offs. The following checklist with warning signs shows you how to recognize dubious websites.

10 Ways To Identify Fake Websites

The following criteria can indicate a fake website. They are not proof of unfair intentions on the part of the website operator. Some pages are also just unclean or programmed or implemented with a lack of knowledge. However, the following applies: If several of the following warning signs apply to a website, you should exercise extreme caution, refrain from entering sensitive data and look around for alternatives.

Please be wary of the following warning signs:

1. Missing legal notice

A missing or incomplete imprint should always make you suspicious. According to § 5 of the Telemedia Act, commercial providers are obliged to state their name and address and, in the case of legal entities, their legal form in the imprint. A commercial provider is already someone who only displays a single paid ad on their website. So anyone who conceals more than he reveals in the imprint may not want to be identified. A foreign company headquarters is not necessarily a warning signal, but it can become a problem in the event of complaints or the return of goods.

2. No contact options

The same applies to the contact options offered, especially in online shops. Are these visible? Can someone be reached at the given telephone number? Is the e-mail address still active and does the given postal address even exist? Have a look on Google Maps to see what the house looks like at the given address. If everything looks serious, that’s a good sign. Otherwise: be careful – it could be a fake website! E-mail addresses from free providers can, but do not have to be a warning sign.

3. Ambiguous Terms and Conditions

Today’s customers have become accustomed to long, complicated general terms and conditions. Although this may not arouse enthusiasm, it is often unavoidable due to numerous legal regulations. However, the terms and conditions must be available and visible on the website. If this is not the case, the suspicion arises that the respective provider has something to hide.

4. No right of withdrawal

The assignment of the right of withdrawal is not permitted in some countries. However, if this is exactly what is being done on a website, this is a sure sign of a dubious provider. In this case, you should leave the site immediately and also warn other customers about it.

5. Many text errors

The textual design of a homepage can also be an indication of a fake website. Typical advertising texts that would also fit perfectly at a weekly market should make you prick up your ears. If the actual website fades into the background in front of all the special offers and discount campaigns, that is also a warning signal.

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6. Excessive Advertising

Advertising banners and ads are generally not a problem. But pop-ups are annoying and can pose a security risk. If you click on an appropriately prepared pop-up window, you can get malicious software (so-called “malware”) on your computer. Reputable sites – like the career bible – therefore only work with premium marketers.

7. Useless registration prompts

It is common in online shops that customers can register and are asked to do so. On reputable websites, however, you can always continue the purchase process anonymously – without having to register and reveal private data (apart from the address, of course). Therefore, question every registration request: Is the data really necessary for the purchase? Fake websites regularly ask users to enter their date of birth and other private data. Often associated with subscription traps and permission to forward the data to third parties (or newsletters).

8. Confused layout

The layout and navigation of the website can also indicate a dubious provider. Reputable sites prefer a clear and concise layout. The navigation is usually designed in such a way that you can find your way around the website quickly and largely intuitively. A confusing design could also lead to you “accidentally” clicking a paid link. The problem: Both a clear layout and clear navigation are to a certain extent a matter of taste and are perceived differently. So pay attention to your gut feeling.

9. Insecure data transmission

If you are supposed to enter payment data in an online shop, this must be done via a secure connection. You can see this in the URL line of your browser: the abbreviation “HTTPS” should appear there at the beginning. In today’s browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari, “secure” pages are now marked by a lock symbol.

10. Restricted Payment Methods

A look at the payment methods offered can also help: If prepayment is the only payment method mentioned, you should keep your hands off the page. Paypal with buyer protection or a bank transfer is safer.

Final Thoughts

In practice, it is often not difficult to identify fake websites. This applies at least to the offers that are created quickly and are only aimed at profit, sweepstakes, or data collection. However, some sites make a trustworthy impression even after a thorough examination and still pursue dishonest intentions.

In these cases, the experiences of other customers will often help you. If it is a question of a dubious offer, you will quickly come across corresponding testimonials and complaints from cheated customers on the Internet. If in doubt, google the name of the provider + “experience”. In general, stay alert.

The Author

Oladotun Olayemi

Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.