How to tell if a website is fake or legit - Consumer Boomer (2023)

The internet is a wonderful place for online shopping, connecting with family, and even reading news. It’s also become the main tool for work, school, and other important life transactions like banking.

As good as the internet may be, cybercriminals lurk between websites. They constantly look for ways to scam and steal from users, so you might be worried that you might be next—and for all the right reasons.

Scammers use countless hacking techniques, including setting up fake websites. It’s so easy to fall into their tricks, especially when they copy authentic websites you regularly visit. A simple click can lead you to give up your personal information—and just like that, you can be a victim of fraud!

How to tell if a website is fake or legit - Consumer Boomer (1)

It’s important not to get complacent when enjoying the internet, and as people who receive spam emails, suspicious pop-up ads, links, and other seemingly legit content, we’ve looked into the signs that you should avoid a website at all costs.

In the end, you’ll know the one best trick we shared to make it easy for you to check a fake website, so you don’t have to go through every single method every time.

Keep reading without skipping! You wouldn’t want to miss out on a handy tool that you can use and spend a lot of time going through a long list of things to check.

Spotting fake or scam websites

Fake or scam websites can be notoriously difficult to spot, but they’re not bulletproof. This is what Glen Bhimani, the CEO and founder of BPS Security, one of the fastest-growing security firms in the US, believes.

“Fake websites almost always have telltale signs. A major sign is if the URL or domain name is just barely off from what you’d expect. For example, if you’re looking for Microsoft’s website and you come across a website with the domain name of Microsofter— it’s just enough to be odd but not enough to catch the eye of most people who are surfing the web.”

Some examples of fake website domains could look like:


Bhimani further shares that “Often it is in the little aspects of a website you’ll be able to determine if it is a scam website. Additionally, if the spelling or grammar is odd or poorly constructed, that is an immediate red flag.”

But what else should you look for? For BPS Security’s CEO, social media and review sites are key.

“Another great way to verify a website is to look elsewhere on the internet for them. If they don’t have social media presence or accounts for review sites like Google or Yelp, it’s far less likely that you’re doing business with a verified company.”

(Video) Understanding consumer behaviour, from the inside out

He further stresses that we must never give up sensitive information, such as social security numbers, over the internet. Information is always easy to compromise.

You can check other aspects of the site, such as the contact details and other information. If you call it, does it answer? What is the CIN number of the business? Does the design look professional?

How can you avoid fake websites?

“How can I check the authenticity of a website,” you may be wondering? Here are some tips we’ve gathered from countless respected sources, along with methods you can take to proactively protect your information:

1. Check the domain age

We all enjoy online shopping, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, scammers use the rush and gift-giving as an opportunity to trick shoppers. They come up with authentic-looking websites pretty quickly. Given the rush of it all, many end up being scam victims.

Checking the domain age can help you avoid this tactic altogether, as you will see how long the website has been in business. If it’s fairly new, best to leave the site immediately.

How to tell if a website is fake or legit - Consumer Boomer (2)

The Whois Lookup domain tracker offers you the chance to check websites. You can find out where the domain name is registered and how long the website has been running.

2. Don’t fall for suspicious deals

Prizes, free stuff, and coupons are too good to pass up sometimes. Retailers also put up heavy discounts on older items, a common tactic in the business world used to clear the shelves away for new products.

Those 80% discounts are enticing, but if the website lists down the latest iPhone model, you’re likely being guided to a scam. Walk away—they will never ship these products out to you. You’ll only lose money and personal information.

3. Watch out for suspicious links in your emails

Although emails are generally considered safe due to encryption, many users still fall victim to scams. Hackers infiltrate emails through phishing attacks, which happen when you end up downloading attachments or clicking on links that seem legit.

So, it’s important not to click on any links from unknown senders, especially if the message looks suspicious. Links can easily look legitimate, but they’re often disguised and actually lead you to fake websites.

How to tell if a website is fake or legit - Consumer Boomer (3)

If you receive a suspicious email, you can hover your mouse over the hyperlinked text. This will allow you to see the full URL, usually at the bottom left corner of your screen. If the link is full of random characters and quite a bit long, beware.

A legit and safe URL should always begin with “https://.” The “s” here stands for secure, meaning that the website uses encryption to relay data, making it relatively safe from cybercriminals.

(Video) What is a Baby Boomer?

Any website with only “http://” (without an S) may not be trustworthy, so it’s best to proceed with caution. You mustn’t readily trust these sites with your sensitive information.

4. Scan for viruses

Too many ads and pop-ups are usually indicators of an unsafe site. Although ads are generally safe elements of websites, too much of anything is never good. If there are more ads than web content, for example, you’re likely dealing with a scam website.

Other ads also force you to click on them to be redirected back to the website, and this can be a problem if you end up clicking on the wrong link. Often, these can also cause you to download malware or viruses accidentally.

For free resources and quick virus scans, consider using any of the following:

Pro Tip: Visit a website checker to see if the site is legit

The steps above might seem like a lot of work. We think so too, and we can’t imagine how much longer it would take just to browse the web! Thankfully, there are tools like website checkers.

A website checker comes handy when you want to verify a website that you suspect is fake. With this tool, you don’t need to do all the other checks. The checker will give you information on all potential vulnerabilities on the site.

In other words, you’ll see if the website has encryption and what level of verification it currently has. The lack of these two elements is a sign you can’t trust the site.

Some sites like ScamSearch have a list of scamming websites and will check if the website is a scammer site. This will save you time and effort checking every single sign or method every time you suspect that a site is fake.

Why should you worry about fake websites?

There is much to fear about scam websites, but when you think about it, they’re only products of human judgment and thinking—and not really bionic computer miracles. But this doesn’t mean we should stop worrying about them.

We have always heard warnings that tell us to watch what we do online, and it’s important now more than ever to tread carefully. The more accessible the internet gets, the more sophisticated hackers become.

(Video) Exploring the Baby Boomer Consumers Opportunity - Episode 003 - Booming! Your Bottom Line

Scam websites are some of the most common ways to trick people into giving away their information. The best thing you need to remember is that the most harmless-looking websites sometimes turn out to be fraud sites.

When cybercriminals access your sensitive information, they can use your data for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft. They might pretend to be you to drain your bank accounts, scam your contacts, and commit other crimes under your name.

That said, make sure to remember the tips we’ve given carefully. In doing so, you lessen the fear of surfing the internet—no one should give up on the digital world just because of hackers who can’t make honest living wages.

You should protect your personal information at all costs, and this means not easily believing in information, not clicking on links, and consulting website checkers before your next move.

How to report a scam website?

Sometimes, the hackers end up winning. You may have heard a friend or two talking about how they’ve lost money after clicking on email websites. They’re likely victims of phishing, and should this happen, it’s important to report it to relevant authorities immediately.

For Google users, you can turn to the Google Safe Browsing team. Follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Visit the SafeBrowsing Report page.
  • Step 2: Carefully type in the site’s suspicious URL.
  • Step 3: Complete the CAPTCHA. Don’t worry; this is completely safe.
  • Step 4: Describe what happened in your report. You can be as thorough as you wish.
  • Step 5: Don’t forget to click “Submit Report.”

What to do if you’ve been scammed

No matter how careful we are, sometimes we end up falling into scams. If you live in the United States, turn to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a scam report. You can report the incident online, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 (9:00 AM – 8:00 PM, ET).

The FTC accepts various scam reports, including incidents such as:

  • Emails
  • Phone calls
  • Imposter scams
  • Fake checks
  • Computer support scams
  • Fake demands for money, including gift cards, wire transfers, checks

The FTC will also deal with other common scams listed here.

What other instances can you report to the FTC?

Golden tip

If you find yourself affected by international scams, you can report them through

(Video) Boomer Marketing Cheatsheet BOOMCS -IS IT ANOTHER SCAMM??

What other types of cyberattacks should you be aware of?

Apart from scam offers, fake websites, identity theft, and phishing, there are other cyberattacks you need to be aware of. Here are some of the most prevalent ones:

1. Password breaches

Password breaches are exactly what they sound like. Hackers end up cracking your passwords, gaining full control over your online accounts. They use the following password cracking tools:

  • Aircrack
  • Cain
  • Abel
  • John the Ripper
  • Hashcat

Once they take over your online accounts, you can lose the rest of your information, like bank accounts. Sometimes, you may also never recover your accounts.

2. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks

Man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM) are lesser-known, but they occur when a cybercriminal intercepts communication between two people. This usually happens as an attempt to steal log-in credentials, personal information, and other content they can use.

Thankfully, MITM attacks are less common as most email platforms and chat systems now come with end-to-end encryption. They can now prevent tampering, especially when data travels across the network.


The internet has changed our world forever. With mere clicks on our screens, we can shop, book reservations, pay for bills, and speak to loved ones across the world.

Unfortunately, hackers are always lurking behind our online tasks, ready to strike at any given moment through fake websites.

Through fake websites, cybercriminals can access our information and commit identity theft, putting us in harm’s way in more ways than one. With that said, it’s important to remain vigilant at all times, so keep this guide in mind.

Bullhorn icons created by Smashicons – Flaticon

(Video) Customer Service Worker - PSA - (Don't Be A Bad Boomer) - Baby Boomer Complains


How can I check to see if a website is legit? ›

8 Ways to Know If Online Stores Are Safe and Legit
  1. Use the free McAfee WebAdvisor to check for safe sites. ...
  2. Check the padlock in the address bar. ...
  3. Verify the website's trust seal. ...
  4. Use the Google Transparency Report. ...
  5. Check the company's social media presence. ...
  6. Analyze the overall look of the website.
8 Jun 2022

Can you get scammed through a website? ›

Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.

How do I know if I am being scammed online? ›

  1. Scammers Want. You To Wire Money. You may be asked to wire money or purchase pre-paid debit cards. ...
  2. Scammers Tell. You To Keep It “Secret” ...
  3. Scammers Make. It Sound Too Good To Be True. ...
  4. Scammers Contact. You “Out Of The Blue” ...
  5. Scammers Claim. There Is An “Emergency” ...
  6. Scammers Ask. For Your Personal Information.

How do I find details of a website? ›

To perform a search, users only need to go to, enter a domain name, and click “Lookup.” The raw WHOIS data is organized by contact data (domain name registrant contact, administrative contact, technical contact, and abuse contact) and also contains information such as the registrar, status of the ...

What do I do if I ordered from a fake website? ›

If your online shopping purchase was a scam, here's how to take action:
  1. Contact Your Payment Company. Contact your credit card company or payment platform to report suspected fraud—you may be able to get your money back. ...
  2. File an FTC Report. ...
  3. Warn Others About the Scam.
24 Feb 2022

How do you know if an online seller is legit? ›

Warning signs

The social media based store is very new and selling products at very low prices. The store may have limited information about delivery and other policies. An online retailer does not provide adequate information about privacy, terms and conditions of use, dispute resolution or contact details.

Who get scammed the most? ›

On average, the oldest Americans lost the most money to online fraud. Roughly 105,000 individuals 60 and older reported a combined $966 million in losses, averaging more than $9,100 per person.

What are the characteristics of a scammer? ›

If you ever spot any of the following signs from someone you don't know then be suspicious - it could save you a lot of money!
  • 1) Unusual payment requests. ...
  • 2) Authority. ...
  • 3) Urgency. ...
  • 4) "Don't tell anyone" ...
  • 5) Playing on your emotions. ...
  • 6) Too good to be true?

Will my bank refund me if I get scammed? ›

If you paid by bank transfer or Direct Debit

Contact your bank immediately to let them know what's happened and ask if you can get a refund. Most banks should reimburse you if you've transferred money to someone because of a scam.

How do I find out WHOIS behind a website? ›

How to Find the Owner of a Website
  1. Search the website.
  2. Check domain registration history.
  3. Contact a domain brokerage.
  4. Use search engines or social media.
  5. Find an email associated with the domain.
  6. Searching the Website.
19 Dec 2020

How do you find the origin of a website? ›

How to Find Real IP (Origin) address of Website?
  1. Censys.
  2. Shodan.
  3. IVRE.
  4. Zoomeye.
  5. SecurityTrails.
  6. Find Virtual Hosts.

How can you tell who created a website? ›

Scroll to the very bottom of a page and check whether the site has a copyright listed, which might provide the owner's name or a designer's credit. If not, look for a link to an "About" page. Some sites also mention ownership in a "Terms of Service" page, often linked at the bottom of a site.

How do I verify an online business? ›

11 Ways to Check if a Website is Legit or Trying to Scam You
  1. 1 | Carefully Look at the Address Bar and URL. ...
  2. 2 | Check the Contact Page. ...
  3. 3 | Review the Company's Social Media Presence. ...
  4. 4 | Double Check the Domain Name. ...
  5. 5 | Look Up the Domain Age. ...
  6. 6 | Watch for Poor Grammar and Spelling. ...
  7. 7 | Verify the Website Privacy Policy.
9 Feb 2021

What is an online scammer? ›

Scammers use dating websites, social networks and chat rooms to get personal details or money from people.

What are the legit online business? ›

That being said, let's take a look at some of the proven and easy-to-start online business ideas that actually make money.
  • Start a Blog and Make Money From It. ...
  • Become an Affiliate Marketer. ...
  • Create and Sell Online Courses. ...
  • Build an Ecommerce Store. ...
  • Build a Membership Website. ...
  • Make an Online Job Board. ...
  • Become an SEO Specialist.

Who is the biggest scammer in the world? ›

Emmanuel Nwude
OccupationFormer Director of the Union Bank of Nigeria
Known forDefrauding $242 million out of Banco Noroeste and alleged attack on the Nigerian town of Ukpo, Anambra State.
Criminal statusReleased in fraud case, but currently in custody on murder charges
Criminal penalty25 years for fraud case
5 more rows

How much does the average scammer make? ›

How much does a Phone Scammer in United States make? The national average salary for a Phone Scammer is $49,977 per year in United States. Filter by location to see a Phone Scammer salaries in your area. Salaries estimates are based on 1 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by a Phone Scammer employees.

How do you know if a website is legit on Iphone? ›

Scan if a website is safe
  1. Open Safari.
  2. Go to the website you want to visit.
  3. Tap the. to open the Tools pop up window.
  4. From the list, tap Scan Website. Mobile Security will scan the website and display if the page is Safe or Dangerous.
26 Jan 2022

When can you say that the data you see in Web pages are trustworthy? ›

Author – Information on the internet with a listed author is one indication of a credible site. The fact that the author is willing to stand behind the information presented (and in some cases, include his or her contact information) is a good indication that the information is reliable.

Is Scamadviser com legit? ›

Scamadviser has a consumer rating of 4.17 stars from 249 reviews indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. Consumers satisfied with Scamadviser most frequently mention help others, good job and many times. Scamadviser ranks 3rd among Consumer Protection sites.

Are .org websites reliable? ›

Websites with these domains (the URL ending) generally have reliable information: . org (a registered organisation) .

What is malicious website identification? ›

What is a malicious website? Malicious websites host malware or are used to phish for sensitive information. In the case of the latter, users are tricked into revealing sensitive data such as login credentials for online banking websites.

Which website is the most credible? ›

We've gathered here several news websites with a good reputation.
  • BBC News. BBC News is one of the most trusted sources you can ever find. ...
  • The Economist. ...
  • The Wall Street Journal. ...
  • Google News. ...
  • The Guardian. ...
  • CNN.
13 Sept 2022

What makes a website trustworthy? ›

A URL is safe if it has the correct spelling, is secured (https) and has some sort of indicator that it's verified, such as a lock sign. Although https is not synonymous with security, these three factors are a good place to start when checking if a site is safe.

Can I trust Trustpilot? ›

The short answer is: “Yes”. You can trust reviews on Trustpilot. With over 111 million reviews and over a decade of experience, it's a pretty legitimate platform. However, you'll likely find the most valuable reviews when researching brands that are active on the site.

Is Crownkof a legit website? ›

This company is all about fraud, scams, and just taking people money. I strongly and cold heartedly advise any and everyone, if you come across this site, please do not buy nor second guess yourself, they are frauds and scammers! If you heard the saying, "if it's too good to be true, it is". Avoid the site at all cost.

Who do you call when you get scammed? ›

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main agency that collects scam reports. Report the scam to the FTC online, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 (9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, ET). The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones: Phone calls.

Is .com or .org better? ›

It depends on the type of website you have. The domain extension . org is better for nonprofit websites, while .com is better for for-profit businesses selling a service or product. In terms of SEO value, which one you pick has little effect on SEO.


1. How Casper Failed & Why DTC Startups Lose Money
(Modern MBA)
2. Charli D'Amelio CRIES After Losing 1 MILLION Followers Because of THIS
(Entertainment Tonight)
3. 📵Spam calls தொல்லையா? Try This Trick⚡️⚡️ #shorts #spamcalls
(Tech Boss)
4. Boomer Benefits Customer Testimonial - Ian R.
(Best Company Consumer Reviews)
(JianHao Tan)
6. Teen Titans GO! To The Movies Exclusive Clip | Time Cycles | @DC Kids
(DC Kids)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated: 12/07/2022

Views: 5752

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.