As anyone with a mobile phone in Australia knows, scams are on the rise. Whether it’s “mum” asking you send through a couple hundred bucks on loan for groceries, or “Linkt” asking you to top up your toll account, sometimes fraudulent and scammy characters can be hard to spot! 

According to Scamwatch Australia, over $53 million has been lost to scams in Australia already this year. Because of this, it’s more critical than ever to know how to trust a website and when a page is insecure or illegitimate.  

But don’t worry – Monocera is here to help you navigate the dodgy websites.  

How can I tell if a website is secure?

The easiest way to tell if a web page is secure may be simply checking the link. Secure websites should have https at the beginning – if the site is missing an s, this page does not use SSL to encrypt data and is far less secure than an https page.

On certain web browsers, such as Google Chrome, the browser may offer quick identifiers to demonstrate whether the site is deemed secure. In the case of Google Chrome, the web link will have a lock symbol, information symbol, or warning symbol depending on the site’s security: 

Icons representing SSL status of secure, not secure and potentially dangerous websites

Unfortunately, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s report in 2022, up to 84% of scam sites now have an SSL certificate, so this shouldn’t be your sole consideration when looking for a scam site.  

How can I tell if a website is fake? 

There are multiple ways you can assess whether a website may be fraudulent or fake.  

Firstly, and we know this may seem obvious, you can google the page’s URL or name and review the results. Warning signs that the website might be fake? Bad reviews, lots of other people asking if the website is a scam, or lots of copycat websites with different URLs.  

You should also look out for any bad grammar, spelling, or phrasing within the web page’s copy. These can be sure-fire signs of a dodgy website – if not a fake or fraudulent one, then at least one that shouldn’t be trusted to give reputable information.  

Most legitimate websites will have a contact page and information on how to get in touch if you have any questions. An easy way to assess whether a website is likely legitimate is to look for this page and call the number or email the contact. If all seems above board, this is a good sign that the business is legitimate.  

 Finally, looking out for weird or invasive adverts on the web page may help you in determining whether a website is trustworthy. If the site has lots of pop-up ads, invasive ads that cover part or most of the screen, or just a large quantity of ads, these are red flags.  

What do I do if I suspect a website is fake or fraudulent?

If you come across a website that you believe is masquerading as another entity, you can head to the official website, log in to your account, or call their number. This way, you can verify that the alternate website is a fake.  

If you suspect a website is fake, a scam, or fraudulent you can report it to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Centre will look into it and take action You can also report suspected or verified scams to Scamwatch. 

Finally, if you believe a website to be dodgy, never enter any of your personal details, download any files, click on any links or attachments, or reply to requests. Exit the page immediately and contact the relevant authorities if required 

If you entered your details prior to recognising the website as dodgy, contact your bank immediately and cancel any personal identification that may be compromised.  

Monocera is here to help!

If you are unsure or want further information on potentially harmful, unsecure, or fraudulent websites, talk to our team. Monocera can support you in preventing scams or malware attacks via dodgy websites.  

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you navigate dodgy websites.