Dummy websites are everywhere. Here’s how to spot them

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – You might think you could spot a scam. They are everywhere on the Internet, in emails and on social media sites.

Some are easy to spot, but many are dead ringers for legitimate websites of reputable companies.

Similar websites with similar domains make US buyers spend their money or disclose personal information. Software technology company Check Point recently discovered that more than 5,300 different malicious commercial websites are found each week, an increase of 178% from 2021.

It is an effective strategy for cybercriminals who are able to create and publish almost undetectable websites as spoofs.

While browsing the Facebook feed the other night, I came across an advertisement for fitness equipment from the Bowflex Company. Adjustable dumbbells for only $ 88 with free shipping. I know these dumbbells usually cost $ 300 so I was wary of what happened when I clicked on the ad.

One click took me to a website that looked the same as the real Bowflex.com site, but its URL or domain address was bowflex-us.com. If you have shopped online at some international companies, it is quite common for them to have a separate domain for customers in the United States. Thus, a “-us.com” is not a clear sign that this is a spoofed site.

A closer inspection of the similar website revealed the copyright at the bottom of the page which sent me to search for its homepage. Clicking on it brought me to the same home screen, which, again, looked identical to the real Bowflex.com site.

While searching for the domain in the whois.com domain database, I discovered that the website had been registered under someone’s name in China. Definitely not a Bowflex recording. You might be thinking, “But what if I bought a set of dumbbells for $ 88?” Even if they are counterfeit or counterfeit, there is always a “free return” policy.

Even if this company sent you a set of dumbbells that you discovered to be fake, returning them would require sending them back to the company in China. It would be a high cost to pay to ship 110 pound dumbbells. In addition, there is no guarantee that your money will be refunded.

If someone were to purchase the dumbbells, they would have to enter their credit card number, 3-digit PIN, expiration date, name, address, and email address. Even if the credit card company provided some protection for fraudulent card spending, you will still need to follow the steps to report it.

Here are some things to consider when buying online:

  • Malicious websites can be created to look like the real site of a reputable company quite easily.
  • Never buy anything with a debit card as it is a direct link to your bank account.
  • Compare the item’s price on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and / or Target. If the price is considerably lower, it is more than likely a scam.
  • Never enter your Amazon or credit card information if the website asks you to “sign in with Amazon” or re-establish your Amazon account.
  • Bogus or spoofed websites can also install harmful malware and spyware on a computer by clicking on a link.
  • Beware of any shopping website that displays a limited number of available items and the number of people viewing it at the moment. This is a strategy to make it seem like your purchase is necessary right now to claim the deal.
  • Report shady ads to the social media channel where you saw them

Less than 12 hours after seeing the fake Bowflex ad on Facebook, the online store closed. If someone had entered a credit card and personal information to purchase the items, it is highly unlikely that they could ever contact the company to inquire about your purchase.

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