How to Spot and Avoid Online Scams? Information Hygiene Tips
Hey everyone, nerds! Today I want to share with you basic, yet very important tips on how not to get caught by a scam and how to distinguish a scam from a really useful resource. This article can be safely considered the first lesson for personal information security, because if scam sites exist and there are more and more of them, then the number of gullible users is growing.
It is foolish to blame gullible users, they need to be informed, which is what we will do now. I will talk about the tools that I personally use. Since our site is dedicated to educational resources, it is with the help of these tools that I determine whether a site with educational courses, tutorials, or books is a scam. You can use these tools for any checks you can think of.
The first thing I would recommend you do is to check the traffic of the suspect site. You can do this in ahrefs online tool, all you need is a link. After waiting just a few seconds, you will receive complete information about the site traffic: from which countries users come from, is there anything suspicious in these statistics.
Ahrefs - Online Traffic Checker (source)
For example, consider the site shown in the figure. Please do not follow this link as according to ScamAdvisor this the site is a scam. Most of the site's traffic comes from the US market, while other countries have 0% traffic at all. This is at least strange and ready to assume that the clicks and the traffic itself were bought. What have we learned so far? We learned that despite the fact that the clicks look fake and bought, the site is quite large, has good SEO positions in the search engine, and therefore a fairly large number of real users. It remains to find out their experience of using this site.
ScamAdviser is a great resource that is specially created for you to share your experience about the scam that you have encountered or, conversely, read other people's opinions about sites in this regard. There is a fairly active community here, where you can read about the experiences of other users who share why it is a scam or not and how they were deceived. For example, a site was taken, the domain of which I will not write in the text of the article, as you can see in the screenshot below. I specifically chose a site that is already blocked as a scam and a fraudulent site so that readers do not have the desire to experiment on their own.
ScamAdviser - Example Reviews (source)
In general, I highly recommend that you read the blog of this site, if only for the sake of interest, because they sometimes conduct entire investigations in order to identify whether the analyzed site is a scam. They use different methods and analyze everything to the smallest detail. Personally, I was interested in reading their blog not even from a technical point of view, but from the point of view of outlook and exciting revelations.
Treat this site as a great reference for well-known scams, but do not forget to check the sites yourself, because it takes some time for reviews from other users to appear here, which you may not have. Therefore, I advise you to use another resource - webwiki.
To be honest, the popularity of the site is falling every day, which personally upsets me. Indeed, in fact, this is something like Wikipedia, which stores information from users about a huge number of sites on the network. Here you can evaluate the popularity of the site, areas of activity, and some technical characteristics (such as how long the page takes to load), see information about the site administrator, as well as administrator contacts, and also read reviews from other users. That's what we need.
WebWiki - Website Profile Example (source)
Unfortunately, here you can find a review not for every site, which is why if you did not find reviews from other users, pay attention to the Safety and Classification panel. Here, based on data from users, technical characteristics, and other details, the probability is built that the site you entered can be trusted. This is not a 100% guarantee that the site is not a scam, but it is another tool that can confirm or disprove your doubts.
Another very functional tool that I want to recommend to you is URLscan.io. Here you can get a huge amount of technical information about the site, from what kind of hosting the site uses to the frameworks that the developers use (which is very useful for educational purposes, by the way).
URLscan.io - Interface (source)
Here, the first thing you should pay attention to is the term of domain registration. Scam sites often do not live long, and if the domain where you are going to buy some crypto is less than a month old, then if I were you, I would think carefully about whether it is worth doing it at all.
I also highly recommend you check out their blog. Basically, they write about some new features of their service and recent updates, but you can also find a lot of useful technical information there, with the help of which you can understand each term of the output result and learn how to use this tool correctly.
Pay attention to details. Here you are unlikely to be helped by any tool, you just need to be more careful yourself. The fact is that scam sites are very often developed in a hurry and in fear of blocking a domain, which is why subtle errors very often appear on the sites themselves - some text is not translated from a foreign language, the logo is different from the domain name, links to social networks lead to the main registration page of the social network or a temporary email is indicated in the administrator's contacts.
These are the usual little things that we usually do not pay any attention to when it comes to a site that we trust and use every day, but in doubtful situations, you should turn to such little things. In particular, pay attention to everything related to prices.
For example, once I visited an online clothing store where prices were shown in Polish zlotys, but as soon as it came to payment, I saw the euro in the currency column, that is, the price was several times higher. It's a small thing, but most, like me, wouldn't notice it in any other situation.
I think that today we have discussed a very important topic. We talked about how not to get caught on a scam site and how not to pay scammers for low-quality or not provided services or goods at all. Initially, I thought that people can now easily recognize scams, but if the number of scam sites grows, then the number of victims of scammers grows in direct proportion. I hope that now you will be more attentive when you visit sites unfamiliar to you.