Phishing is the process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity using bulk email or creating sites. Emails are one of the most common mechanisms for fraudsters; hence you should know how to Identify a phishing site, email or link. Before going further, let’s quickly find out the most common characteristics of a phishing website:
- A phishing URL (link) or site looks very similar to the original one as cybercriminals copy the theme, information, graphics and other details.
- It may link some of the pages to those of the original website.
- The name of the phishing link may be similar to that of an original website.
Most of us aren’t aware of how to identify and prevent such cyberthreats; which is why we’ll be guiding you on how to know if a link is a phishing URL.
– Check the URL
To know how to identify phishing URLs, you need to check the authenticity of the web address. If it starts with ‘http://’ instead of ‘https://,’ be careful. The additional ‘S’ means that the website is encrypted and secured with an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is like a code that promotes extra security for online communications. However, phishers have also started to use ‘https://;’. To be more cautious, note the following:
- Whether the spelling is correct. Usually, fake websites have an extra letter ‘S’ or ‘A’ in the spelling. For example, www.walmarts.com or www.flipkaart.com.
- If ‘O’ has been replaced with ‘0’ (zero). For example, “www.yah00.com.”
- If the URL has extra or missing characters or symbols. For example, a legitimate URL is www.coca-cola.com (with a hyphen), but the fake one can be www.cocacola.com (without a hyphen).
– Compare the Quality of the Content
The original website’s content will be crisp, well-written and free of any grammatical and punctuation errors. Even if the fake site is a carbon copy of the original one, the visuals might be lower resolution. If you have an odd feeling, you can visit www.duplichecker.com to be sure.
– Check If the Content Is Missing
Simply go to the “Contact Us” page. If there are no credible contact details, it’s likely a phishing website.
– Is it Demanding Personal Information?
Receiving emails that direct us to click on the given link is normal. However, if a pop-up appears asking for personal details like your phone number, email address, password, residential address, banking details, ID number, etc., consider this a notable red flag. In such cases, always abstain from giving out any sort of information.
– Is it A Non-Secured Website?
Most times, when we visit a website, we get a security alert: ‘connection is not secure.’ In such a situation, it’s crucial to understand how to recognize phishing links. First, click on the padlock icon appearing on the left side of the URL. This way, you can avail yourself of the information related to security certificates and cookies. A cookie is a file in which a user’s data is stored and sent to the website owner. In most cases, it offers a better user experience; however, phishers often tend to misuse this information.
– Check The Payment Method
If a site asks for a direct bank transfer instead of debit cards, credit cards, and payment options like PayPal, you need to be cautious. This may indicate that no bank has approved credit card facilities for the website domain, and they could practice malicious activities.
Now that you have a fair understanding of how to know if a link is a phishing URL, you should also learn the simple way to report a phishing website. If you come across such suspicious websites, go to https://safebrowsing.google.com. Simply paste the URL and add any additional information.
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