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7 Ways to Tell If It’s a Fake

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Unfortunately in today’s world, scammers are coming at us from all angles to try and trick us to get us to part with our hard earned money. We all need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves online. If you aren’t paying attention—even if you know what to look for—they can get you.

There are numerous ways to detect fake sites or emails, phishing, etc. Here are 10 you should know about:

  1. Incorrect URL. Hackers use fake sites to steal your information. Watch to make sure the URL is actually the one you want to be going to— if you notice the URL is different, that’s a good indication that the site is fake and you should NOT enter your information. There’s a number of ways you can protect yourself from this:
    1. If you’re on a computer, hover your mouse over the link to see a preview of the link URL in the status bar. Then check to see if the link site matches the site that it should be from. So for example if your email comes from North Bank or you type in North Bank into the Google search bar and the link is not going to www.northbank.com but something like www.banking-north.com you should not click.
    2. If you’re on a mobile device, use a link preview to see the actual URL before you click.
    3. You can also use McAfee® SiteAdvisor® on both your computer and mobile device to make sure the links you are going to are not bad links.
  2. Nosy Requests. Your bank won’t ask via email for your PINs or card information. Be suspicious of sites (or emails) requesting your Social Security number, identification number or other sensitive information.
  3. Sender’s Email Address. You can also check who sent the email by looking at the send address. It may say it’s from North Bank, but the email may be something strange like northbank@hotmail.com. The sender’s email should not be using a public Internet account like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.
  4. Your Name. A legitimate email from your bank or business will address you by name rather than as “Valued Customer” (or something similar).
  5. Typos. Misspellings or grammatical errors are another sure sign that the message or site is fake.
  6. Fake Password. If you’re at a fake site and type in a phony password, a fake site is likely to accept it.
  7. Low Resolution Images. A tip-off to a false site is poor image quality of the company’s logo or other graphics.

Additionally…Hit delete. How about just hitting the delete button whenever an email comes to you from an unfamiliar sender? After all, if any legitimate entity needs to contact you about something urgent or crucial, they would have your phone number, right? They know your name, too. Remember, “just say no” to opening unfamiliar or suspicious looking emails.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!Disclosures.

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