Scams are everywhere and almost linked to anything on the internet. From online banking and shopping to faulty virus protection programs, the list appears to never end with the latest addition being a scam associated with typos.
Typo-squatting, or URL hijacking, is the targeting of internet users who incorrectly type a website URL into their browser for personal gain. Typo-squatters register websites that are nearly identical to authentic ones, save for a single different letter, for example “facebok.com” instead of facebook.com, or by using a different top-level domain, such as “facebook.net."
When the user arrives at a typo-squatted domain, they will often be greeted with a website design and layout that is identical to the real website. The idea preys on a user’s ignorance of the difference in web address, or a simple typographical mistake.
Typo-squatters seek profit in several ways, such as trying to sell the similar domain to the company they are spoofing, monetizing the web traffic through advertising revenue, or a phishing style attempt to acquire a user’s personal information and credit card numbers, which can lead to identity theft.
To prevent yourself from falling victim to typo-squatters and their deceptive sites, you can take some simple precautions:
-Always double check the URL in your browser’s navigation bar for spelling errors
- Consider bookmarking your most visited/important sites especially if you have given them your payment information. Use the bookmarks to access these sites rather than typing them in manually.
- Examine the website in question’s SSL certificate to make sure it is signed by the proper company.
Proceed with caution when making purchases online, visiting different website and navigating your way through. If something doesn’t look or feel right, chances are that it isn’t.