By the AllClear ID Team
Kelly here with AllClear ID. If youâ€™re doing any shopping online one slip of the finger could lead to a mountain of identity theft problems. “Typosquatting”, a scam in which domains similar to popular retailers are bought, is on the rise. Websense reports that such domains now number in the thousands with examples including â€œbestbuyh.comâ€, â€œappple.comâ€, and â€œwallmatt.comâ€. While you may think that these fake sites would be easy to spot, they are often well designed and appear similar enough to the real retailers to trick consumers.
Although these shoppers think theyâ€™re making a purchase from a reputable vendor, theyâ€™re actually supplying their information to identity thieves. But even if you donâ€™t make a purchase, be careful; clicking links on these unsecure websites can result in malware or spyware being installed on your computer. Other fake websites use the correct spelling of a well known company, but with a â€œ.orgâ€ or â€œ.netâ€ domain. These will often be embedded in emails offering great deals.
To avoid becoming a victim of a typosquatting, take a few extra precautions when shopping online:
- Double-check: Always look at the address bar to make sure you are visiting the correct domain
- Search instead: Try searching for the name of the website in Google instead of visiting it directly. In addition to ensuring that you do not make any typos, you’ll also ensure that you are on the correct top-level domain
- Trust your instincts: If a website looks or feels fishy, donâ€™t make a purchase! No matter how great a deal is, itâ€™s not worth compromising your identity.
- Be secure: When you enter all of your personal information during a transaction, look up on the address bar and make sure that you are on a secure (https://) connection.
- Have protection: To avoid being harmed by clicking on dangerous links, make sure that your anti-malware and anti-spyware protection is up to date. Cnet has a security center with links to download all sorts of antispyware and security programs.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.