How to spot a fake, fraudulent or scam website?

This may be the question that has occupied the minds of many people working in the field of Internet monetization, online shopping, and online investing because we are faced with hundreds of new sites every day that are being created on the Internet. They are growing, and each of them is looking to gain users quickly. Therefore, their frequent and countless advertisements can be seen on various sites and, of course, Google. In most cases, these new sites also offer rewards, benefits, and privileges for users.

Of course, we should not forget that we are not just talking about new sites that have just started, but every website whose services we want to use should be checked to ensure its legality. Because if we move with our eyes closed in this case, we may get caught in a scam website. It can be difficult to spot a fake, fraudulent, or scam website. Fraudsters are extremely cunning and good at creating convincing websites. Therefore, considering the importance of this issue, we will introduce you to the methods of identifying fraudulent sites.

The first ways to spot a scam website

The first step in identifying a fraudulent site is to search for the site name in the list of fraudulent sites on this page.

If the name of the site you are searching for is on the list, we advise you to stay away from that website because you will likely lose money. However, if your desired website has just been launched or has not yet been researched and checked by us, you can still learn how to detect fraudulent sites by reviewing the tips provided in the rest of this article.

The first point in this article is that there is a possibility that a website could be a scam. Therefore, we have provided tips for you to identify scam sites. It can be said that there are more fake websites than legitimate ones, so it is important to be cautious and verify the legitimacy of a website before using its services.

Domain and web hosting

“Free domain and web hosting” often indicate scam sites because they cannot operate for a long time and try to set up their site at the lowest cost. To achieve this, they use free scripts, as well as free or cheap domains and hosting. However, reputable sites invest in the growth and development of their site and provide the right infrastructure to launch their site, leading to much higher costs.

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Note that one way to determine the trustworthiness of a site is to find out the costs that the site owner has paid for their site, including the value of the domain and the quality of the host or server. This information can help you understand the intention of the owner of that site to a large extent.

To ensure that a site is secure, look at the address bar (URL) and see if there is an “s” in the URL, which should look like this: “https://”. This indicates that the site owner is using secure encryption processes to transfer data and protect themselves from hackers. Most websites now have this feature, so if you notice a site doesn’t have one, it could be a red flag. However, scammers are also able to forge or buy these padlocks, so seeing one doesn’t always mean a website is safe. Checking for a padlock should always be combined with the other checks we’ve recommended.

Check the Contact Page

Review the options for contacting the company. If you don’t see multiple options (phone, email, live chat, or physical address) then proceed with caution.
You should check that the website lists any contact information.
Reputable and legitimate companies will always list ways to get in touch with them; if the website doesn’t have a ‘Contact us’ page, it could well be fraudulent.
If the site does have ‘Contact us’ page but only offers a form to fill out, be wary as this could also be an indication of a dubious website.
Any company offering goods or services should list a place of business, as well as a phone number or email address through which to contact them.
If none of this information is available, you should treat the website as highly suspicious.

Review the Company’s Social Media Presence

Most legitimate companies have some social media presence and activity. If you see the social media icons on their website, see if they actually link to a social media channel, and review the company reviews and see if you can find real employees of the company on LinkedIn.

Terms and Conditions

  • Lack of terms and conditions for using the site services
  • The rules are short and there are no details in it
  • Not display the rules when registering or purchasing
  • Instability and frequent changes of site terms
  • Not explanation about deposit and withdrawal in the site rules
  • Strict and irrational rules for deposit and withdrawal
  • Forcing the user to get referrals
  • Forcing to invest large sums
  • High deposit and withdrawal fees
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Double-Check the Domain Name

Scammers will tend to create “similar” domain names to trick the user into thinking they are on a legit site, like Yahoo.com or Amazon.net, making subtle changes that you may not even notice. Always double-check the address bar to see if you have been redirected to a website that is not legitimate.

Look Up the Domain Age

It is easy to look up the age of a website domain. Verifying the age of a site helps provide you with confidence that it has been in business for an established amount of time. Scam and fake sites usually have a short lifespan, as they are rooted out early and shut down by legitimate business site owners.
Use the Who is Lookup domain tracker (https://whois.domaintools.com/) to get information such as who is the domain name registered to, where they are, and how long the website has been active.

Never pay by bank transfer

Alarm bells should ring if you are asked to pay for something online via a bank transfer.
If you buy something that turns out to be fake or non-existent with a credit or debit card, you do have some rights to get your money back.
But if you pay by bank transfer, there’s very little you can do to get your cash back.

Watch for Poor Grammar and Spelling

Legitimate company websites will take great care in having a professional looking site. An excess of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors could mean the website went up quickly. Occasional typos on a website can happen, but excessive errors could mean you are not on a legitimate site.

Verify the Website Privacy Policy

Data privacy laws and regulations require most websites to provide website visitors with policies and procedures on how their data is collected, used, protected, and stored. Most sites provide a web page or link to a document providing detailed information. Look for this information and read it carefully before providing any information or making any online purchases.

Check the returns policy

If the company is selling a product online, it should have a shipping and returns policy listed on its website.
If it’s a real company, it should tell you how and where to return a faulty item.
The website should also have terms and conditions, and a privacy policy that tells you exactly what it plans to do with any data you share and any extra contractual rights you may have.

Run a Virus Scan

An occasional ad or pop-up can occur on some websites, but excessive ad content that interferes with your review of the site or pushes you to click on links to be redirected to other websites could indicate a scam or unsecured site.

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Read some online reviews

Look at reviews across a number of sources which aggregate customer reviews. Of course, follow these carefully, because fake comments and reviews may have been recorded by fraudsters.
Don’t look at just one review website – check several to avoid being influenced by.
You should also check the company’s social media pages for recent activity and to see what other people are posting on their social channels.

Validate the Site with Google Safe Browser Transparency Report

The Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report allows you to paste a URL into a field, and it gives you a report on whether you can trust that website.

Can you trust a trust mark?

Research carried out by ANEC, a European consumer organisation, found that seven in ten people say they’re more likely to use a website with a trust-mark label or logo.
But with more than 50 different trust-mark labels and logos in use across Europe, and many countries also not using them at all, they are not always a sound way of judging whether a website is trustworthy.
Also, just because a website appears to carry the logo of a reputable trade organisation, it still doesn’t necessarily mean the website is genuine.
If you’re in doubt, you could always contact the trust-mark company to check.

Walk Away If It’s Too Good to be True

Though it is a common practice for some retailers to provide large price discounts on items to move inventory or promote a new product or service, if you find a site that offers an unbelievable deal, then think twice before continuing. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t legit.

The Bottom Line

By examining these cases, we can largely differentiate Scam sites from reputable sites and not waste our valuable time and capital on such sites.
Of course, we must note that just by looking at one or two of these cases in a site, we can not definitively consider the status of that site as scam. For example, a few months ago, we were checking the domain of Google site, and we found out that in a few months, the expires date of its domain, i.e. google.com, will expire.
Therefore, it is not possible to determine the status of that site by considering one negative case, but if you see several cases on a site, doubt the validity and correctness of that site.

Website Fraud Risk Assessment

In the digital era, securing your finances against online fraud is paramount. Before making any financial transactions on a website or platform, it's important to verify its credibility and legitimacy.
To begin, you can check if the website you're considering appears on our public database of known scam sites by clicking "View Scam Sites" below. This database is regularly updated and maintained by our team.
Alternatively, you can click "Submit a Request" below to complete a form and request an evaluation from our team of experts. We will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine if the website is legitimate, checking for any scams, fraud, or illegal activities.
Don't take any unnecessary risks with your finances - take action today and submit a request or view our list of scam sites.

Submit a Request View Scam Sites