When visiting a website, make sure you are at the right web address and not on a fake “copycat” page created by fraudsters. These type of hoax scams are called “Website Phishing” and they are often used to steal and capture personal and financial information from you.

Website phishing scams can come in a variety of different ways. As always the best defense against these crimes is to be vigilant and to stay informed of the tricks they often use to avoid becoming a victim.

How to protect yourself against website phishing:  

  • Pay attention to the web address or link – Always “double-check” the link for correct spelling and address. For example, if our address is bfsfcu.org, a phishing website could use bfscu.org and many people would not notice that the letter “f” is missing on the fake address.
  • Look for common misspellings of the company name – You know the name of institutions you have a relationship with, make sure the name of the company is correctly spelled throughout the page. Scammers often misspell some words.
  • Watch for links that don’t work or open a blank page – Scammers often do not waste time to make complete website replicas where everything works. Never click on unknown links.
  • Check odd colors, logos and formatting – Fake websites are often off from the brand or site you normally use.
  • Protect your computer – Install antivirus and security software that update automatically.
  • Protect your phone – Set updates to happen automatically. System updates offer critical protection against security threats.
  • Look for the lock symbol – Usually appears in the bottom right corner of your window browser next to the address bar.
  • Scan the page for a Trust Seal – Legitimate websites take advantage of trust seals that are small badges issued by third party companies to prove their authentication.

Sources:
How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams:https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams
Internet Crime Report: https://www.ic3.gov/media/annualreport/2018_IC3Report.pdf
How to spot a Phishing site:https://www.globalsign.com/en/blog/how-to-spot-a-fake-website