Lesson on Phishing Websites

I received an alert this morning on my computer desktop that said my computer system was unstable and unless I fixed it immediately I could lose everything I have on my hard drive. Thank God I mentioned it to my son~ and I did that only because he happened to walk up behind me and was looking over my shoulder as I typed…he said, “Mom~that’s not Norton”…I argued with him and told him it was. He said “go online and look up Norton Symantech and compare them”… So that’s exactly what I did.

I typed in “Norton Symantech” as well as the exact same product name they said they would be using. My son pointed out to me how the coupon I was looking at looked exactly like the one on the Norton website. Furthermore, I happen to glance down at the prices and noticed the prices were 50% off and a red line was marked through the regular price and a new, better price in red. I pointed that out to my son. He said, “Wow! See! I didn’t even notice that and you picked up on it!” And guess what. There were no sale prices on the Norton Symantech website. Nothing had been marked down at all, not even a little bit. So I looked up at the access bar and noticed that the first 25-30 characters of the fake website were IDENTICAL to the real website; the rest was only slightly different and so unnoticeable that I can only imagine how many people don’t notice it at all. I asked him how they get an address so close to the real one. He reminded me how when I got my letsln website domain, jenniterrystockton.com, I didn’t like the services or setup of that website; so I found another website domain host and transferred it to that domain. They said you can virtually get any address you want. Think of all the scam artists out there making websites copying a website of a store such as, say..Best Buy. They sell very expensive products and there could be someone out there scamming people by leading them to believe they are buying an HP Laptop, for example, because they have a big blowout sale and the consumer thinks to him or herself, “Wow I have never seen these amazing prices at Best Buy before”…when really it’s not Best Buy at all, and the person will lose money and won’t be able to get it back.

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The best thing to do when you come across a website which is a fake website acting like another, genuine one, you should immediately report that website to the owner of the real company. You should also find a phishing prevention website and report it to them as well.

http://www.philb.com/fakesites2.htm has a long list of fake or spoofed websites for people to watch out for. He has a list of sites which are historical, social, academic, religious, travel/tourism, and political subjects: Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence, Coalition to Promote the Use of Child Soldiers, Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (I kid you not), Police Guide FBI Records Search, Landover Baptists, and Absolution Online</em>. Again, none of those are real websites, according to philb.com. Then there are a lot of fake commercial websites, including scientific (Bio-Hazard Alert Detector), The Ova Prima Foundation, and Online Pregnancy Test. Now imagine the trouble that could come for someone who used the “Pregnancy Tester” website and was told they were not pregnant when really they are…it could be weeks or even months until the truth was discovered and imagine the mess that person would be in. These sites I listed aren’t phishing websites but you need to watch out for them just the same.

You can report the suspected phishing websites to the Federal Bureau of Investigation website and click on “Report An Internet Crime”. They will investigate this. We may not be able to ever get rid of phishing websites but we can be more aware so that we don’t ever get scammed! Also on the FBI website you will find “Internet Crime Prevention Tips” as well as “Internet Crime Schemes”. Please do your part and take the time to report these guys!

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