Republic of the Philippines
National Police Commission
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
Camp BGen Rafael T Crame, Quezon City
ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NR 178: How to Recognize Secure Sites to Avoid Fake News, Scams and Fraudulent Websites
Reference Number: ACG-CSB 121219178
The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) and classified as “Restricted” pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.
Nowadays, every individual is using the internet and a lot of what happens online is downright scary. The freedom and anonymity provided by the internet also make it a breeding ground for cyber criminals and thieves, many of which are constantly evolving their methods to steal data. One of the oldest methods in the online piracy playbook is the fake or scammed website.
Fake, scammed, or fraudulent websites are designed to trick the individual into giving up valuable user information and in general are designed in such a way that those who are right into the traps laid out by these sites and their shadowy designers.
Scam websites often try to spoof real ones, especially from big name websites, in order to collect the username and password from those sites. These websites are often known as phishing sites. The name should help clue you into what that entails. A phishing website is one that is designed to lure victims through its design and then catch their private and sensitive information after they hand it right over. Social media sites are among the most commonly scammed sites for phishing attempts.
Scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tricks, it is occasionally difficult to tell when a website might actually be a scam or a conduit to fraudulent material intended to steal the user’s information. Here are a few, easy things to look out for when you feel that a website might not be entirely trustworthy.
Unsolicited promotional emails, pop-ups and other online adverts can often appear legit but will sometimes click-through to an unsafe or fake website. Low-resolution logos for well-known travel companies, trade associations or payment and card companies are a big giveaway. Some fake competition scams have also been known to defraud holidaymakers out of a fee to secure a holiday.
Booking a tour, accommodation or travel online while you’re away on holiday adds another layer of security concern. Beyond the risk of payment details being divulged, your personal and private data can be exposed via clouds and WiFi.
Public WiFi includes secured and unsecured networks. To clarify, unsecured networks can be connected without using security features such as a password or login; whereas secured networks will ask the user to agree to terms, register an account or type in a password before connecting.
Always connect with caution and avoid sharing sensitive data or bank account details over an unsecured network. Even secured public networks can be risky. Consider using a Virtual Private Network app (VPN) to help keep the connection secure. A VPN will encrypt all data that passes through the network making it harder for scammers to steal.
Furthermore, information at this day and age is vital in the performance of activities on a daily basis not to mention operations other than personal endeavors.
The public are advised to follow these tips in order to prevent being victimized of scams and fraudulent websites, to wit:
- Check the website address against the page content;
- Check for an SSL/TLS certificate and padlock symbol;
- Look for a site map or website search bar;
- Check for a “Contact” page or contact information;
- Check for proper spelling and grammar;
- Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails;
- Avoid sites making claims that seem too good to be true; and
- Look for reviews from multiple ranking sites or forums
For additional information, please refer to the following websites:
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