5 Ways to Determine if a Website is Fake, Fraudulent, or a Scam

5 Ways to Determine if a Website is Fake, Fraudulent, or a Scam

There are about four billion Internet users in the world. A significant percentage of these users tend to browse the Web on a daily basis. Unfortunately, along with legitimate sites, you are likely to encounter unreliable ones. Most corrupt domains are created for one purpose only: make money off of unsuspecting computer users. It is imperative to stay one step ahead of online criminals and thus make sure that your private data and hard-earned money do not fall into their hands. This article will provide you with certain tips on how to recognize a corrupt domain and stay away from it.

Facebook scams


One way to figure out whether a site is trustworthy or not is by simply checking its uniform resource locator (URL). The address bar contains such information as the protocol, sub domain, domain name, top-level domain, and file path. In some cases, instead of the legitimate domain name you will see a fake one, for example “frfacebok.com” instead of “facebook.com”. Another phishing technique often used by cyber crooks includes tricking users into thinking that the domain name is trustworthy. If the URL that appears in the address bar is very long, it is easy to mistake a sub domain for the actual domain. Please note that the domain name appears right before “.com/”, “.org/”, etc. For example, if you see “paypal.com.confirmation-manager-security.com/signin” in the URL, you should already know that the domain name in this case is not “paypal” but rather “confirmation-manager-security”, which means that it is not the real PayPal page.

As you can see, checking the website’s URL is very important as it is the only part of the website that the hackers cannot manipulate completely. Although they can attempt to trick you into thinking that the website is legitimate, as long as you know what to look for, you will not fall for their tricks.


Another important part of the address bar is the connection indicators that show you whether or not your connection to the page is secure and private. Now, it should be mentioned right away that a secure connection does not necessarily equal a trustworthy website, however, if the connection is not secure, you should not be visiting that particular site.

HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol via which all online communication is done. Without an additional layer of protection, information shared through this protocol can be stolen. That is why Transport Layer Security or simply TLS was created. It ensures that your data stays private. All domains that have this additional layer are referred to as HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. Any domain that lacks this layer should not be trusted.

Certificate Details

If you wish to dive even deeper into figuring out whether or not you can trust a website, you can check its certificate details. Here are some quick instructions on how to do that depending on your browser:

Mozilla Firefox

Padlock icon -> More Information -> View Certificate

Google Chrome

Padlock icon -> Certificate


Padlock icon -> View Certificate

Once you open the certificate, you will see general information like which domain it was issued to, who issued it, and its validity period. If you go to the details tab, you will see the Subject file. In this field, depending on the type of certificate (DV, OV, or EV) you will see different information. In the DV certificate, you will only be presented with domain name. The OV certificate will show you company name, a state or province and a country, while the EV certificate will provide you with more detailed information including the exact address of the company. If the company has OV SSL certificate and you can see the verified details, then you can trust the website. If not, then you should be wary.

It should be noted, however, that it is possible the website only has a DV SSL certificate, which does not provide detailed information. It does not mean that such domains automatically cannot be trusted, but it is better to stay on the safe side until you can make sure that the webpage is actually legitimate.

Trust Seals

Trust seals are usually placed on home pages, payment pages, and login or signup pages. These seals are there to ensure users that the site is reliable. Most of these certificates provide you with verified details when you click on them. These details inform you of the fact that the SSL certificate is reputable and may present you with additional security systems like malicious software scans. Of course, adding a seal to a website is not rocket science, so just because you see one on a page does not mean that it can be trusted. That is why it is important to click on it and check the additional information.

Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report

Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report (https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search?hl=en) allows you to check the legitimacy of the suspicious website. If you copy the URL into the field and press Enter, you will be presented with the site’s information including its current status.

A few more tips:

  • Check the Privacy Policy and Contact Us sections
  • Trust your browser warnings
  • Look for spelling and grammar errors
  • Note the number of ads on the page
  • Search for reviews of the website in question
  • Keep your anti-virus up-to-date and never disable it

Although there are quite a few traps online, familiarizing yourself with them and following the above-mentioned tips can help you to stay away from the fraudulent domains and keep your personal and financial details safe and protected.

Site Disclaimer

WiperSoft.com is not sponsored, affiliated, linked to or owned by malware developers or distributors that are referred to in this article. The article does NOT endorse or promote malicious programs. The intention behind it is to present useful information that will help users to detect and eliminate malware from their computer by using WiperSoft and/or the manual removal guide.

The article should only be used for educational purposes. If you follow the instructions provided in the article, you agree to be bound by this disclaimer. We do not guarantee that the article will aid you in completely removing the malware from your PC. Malicious programs are constantly developing, which is why it is not always easy or possible to clean the computer by using only the manual removal guide.

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