Fake Websites and How to Spot Them
Fake Websites are often interlinked with scam emails mimicking legitimate websites in an attempt to steal information. Learning differences between real and fake sites is vital to protecting personal information.
General warning signs glare out at viewers should they look close enough. These can include things such as grammatical errors, letters being replaced with different characters, website addresses containing extra characters or missing characters, and so on. In addition, browsers such as Google Chrome or Microsoft edge will display when a link is secure near the search bar next to the website address. Microsoft Edge accomplishes this by providing a drop-down menu next to the address of the website. This drop-down menu displays security information about the website, as well as basic information regarding the company being represented. If this information is not present in the menu, the website is impersonating a company and no user should enter information on it.
Real AMD Driver Page
Fake AMD Driver Page
Here is an example of Microsoft Edge's company information using AMD's Website. On the left, the legitimate AMD website is seen, displaying a page used to download drivers for various computer parts the company is known for. Upon clicking the lock next to the website address, a drop-down menu appears displaying basic information about 'amd.com' and the company itself, adding legitimacy to the website. On the right, the same webpage is displayed with similar information. The difference is this is a fake website impersonating AMD's software support download page for their products. Here, there are telltale signs of imitation and phishing, such as the website address linking to a different website and only mentioning AMD, and the lack of company information within the drop-down menu.
Real Log-In Page
Fake Log-In Page
On the right is another example of a malicious, fake website. The website link is mimicking the log-in page for a Google Ads sign in screen. However, upon closer inspection, the address bar at the top of the page displays a website address that links to something other than Google itself showing that this is a phishing attempt. No information should be entered on this site for that reason. The image on the left is an example of a legitimate sign-in site for Google Ads. Notice the difference in website addresses in the search bar. These are common differences among fake websites, along with other things such as possible grammatical errors present in the website address or name at the top of the browser tab.