How can you tell if a link you’re told to click is taking you to a legitimate website or a fake one?
1. Scammers will attempt to trick you by sending you emails from ones like… messages@eBay8109.com which is obviously coming from the domain eBay8109.com instead of eBay.com and could potentially infect your computer with a virus or have spammers sell your email address to marketers.
2. Even if you check the domain name, sometimes, people fall for stuff like firstname.lastname@example.org cuz it says “ebay.com” on it. So you wanna make sure you focus on the last DOT COM or ORG or NET etc.
3. Another confusion trick scam artists will use is to make the URL seem too long. This makes the stuff look legit at times. The link below takes you to DAX.net (random name picked) instead of a Yahoo Email account…
Below is what a real Yahoo email URL should look like.
4. Savvy fraudsters will try to pull a visual trick on innocent victims. It’s like a well dressed man. When you see him, you’ll think he’s a well-educated person and he even hands you his Yale graduation certificate but little do you know what you’re getting into.
Basically, this type of scam is about links that say http://www.google.com but upon clicking, they’ll take you to some other website. To make it easier to identify these kinds of ploys, enable the STATUS BAR on your web-browser. For Firefox users, click on VIEW and then make sure the STATUS BAR has a check mark next to it. That way when you place your cursor over a link, on the status bar below, you see the actual link. If you’re not willing to have a status bar take over space on the bottom of your web-browser (Internet Explorer/Firefox/Safari), you can right-click on the link and click on Properties. That should tell you where the link you see is taking you.
5. There’s one more way crooked people on the net can manipulate links to fool you. For example, they’ll ask you to click on links like http://us.f112.999admin.org/www.yahoo.com/check-mail or something along those lines. Although the url you see above may be obvious to many as a fake, there are others who will see the http://www.yahoo.com portion of it and trust it. Anything after the first “/” is a folder. In the case of the above example, there’s a folder called “www.yahoo.com” in the website 999admin.org and this is particularly tricky when you encounter links to eBay “dispute reconciliation” pages which I will talk about later.
Here’s a tip to prevent these issues:
Create 4 different email addresses. One address for family and friends. One for registering stuff online like opening a YouTube account or a WordPress blog site. Another one for ebay and online purchases, banks/credit cards, and other financial stuff. The 4th one will be for random things and you’ll rarely use it. Trust me. It may seem like a lot of work but in the end, there’s nothing better than knowing that you’re taking steps in the right direction away from scam artists and other lowly scums is this shady world of the internet.
Also by following the above tip, you’ll almost NEVER get any SPAM emails at your family/friends email address. And chances of you seeing fraudulent eBay or bank/credit card emails will be slim or zero.