Identity Theft 101: Typo Scam
(FinancialHealth.net) – A simple typographical error or spammy ad link could land any one of us on a website that looks legitimate but has actually been designed to steal our personal information.
Typosquatting is a common scam, but it is possible for us to protect ourselves. Here’s what everyone needs to know.
Everyone makes a typo from time to time. What happens when that typo lands someone on a website that looks like the one they intended to visit, but isn’t really – for example, accidentally typing costoco.com instead of costco.com?
Scammers commonly use a technique called typosquatting to lure people to misspelled domains that look similar to sites people are already comfortable with in an attempt to steal their personal data.
How Typosquatting Works
According to Naked Security, up to 80% of one-word website URLs like Google, Netflix, or Walmart, have a hijacked version of their URL somewhere on the web. A site like Netflix, for example, may have a hijacked domain of Netlfix; a simple reversal of the letters L and F that the eye may not immediately pick up on.
The website people land on would appear similar to Netflix, but entering their credit card and other personal information would simply transfer it to the scammer.
How to Protect Yourself from Typosquatting
Caution is key when using the internet. Some of the best ways to protect oneself from typosquatting include:
- Install a reputable anti-virus program on your computer. Most will be able to block sites that have already been marked as malicious.
- Be cautious of fake ads. Don’t visit websites that are not clearly identified in the ad or link preview. If an ad claims it is for Amazon.com, the link should include the same in the URL.
- Be cautious in spelling a domain name when entering the URL; double check for typos.
There will always be scammers out there trying to steal our personal information. Be cautious and never underestimate the efforts of those attempting to steal personal information.
~Here’s to your Financial Health!
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