Stay safe online: Check out our comprehensive list of scamming websites and ways to protect yourself.
Imagine scrolling through your social media feed and seeing an ad for a product you’ve wanted for a while. The ad claims to have an unbelievable deal, so you click the link and head to the website. The website looks professional, and the deal seems too good to pass up. You enter your credit card information and eagerly await the arrival of your purchase.
But days turn into weeks, and there’s no sign of the product. You try to contact the company, but they need to be more responsive. Finally, you realize you’ve been scammed.
One of the most insidious forms of online scams is through scamming websites like the example above. These websites are designed to look legitimate but are set up to deceive users into providing personal and financial information or making purchases they never receive.
This article will look into scamming websites, discussing a list of scamming websites, warning signs, and, most importantly, how to protect yourself from these fraudulent schemes. So let’s start and learn how to outsmart the scammers.
What is a scamming website?
Now, let’s get down to scamming websites. A scamming website is precisely what it sounds like- a website designed to scam you. Sneaky scammers create these to trick you into handing over your hard-earned money, personal information, or both.
These websites can take many forms, but the end goal is always the same- to steal from you. Some scamming sites impersonate legitimate companies, while others offer products or services that are either fake or never delivered. They often lure people with flashy graphics, fake reviews, and unbeatable deals.
The scammers behind these websites are clever and know how to prey on people’s vulnerabilities. They’ll use fear, greed, or urgency to get you to act quickly without thinking. Before you know it, you’ve handed over your credit card or personal information, and the scammers have disappeared into the digital ether.
Not all websites offering excellent deals are scams. But it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs and take precautions to protect yourself.
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in today’s digital age. Scammers have become increasingly savvy at tricky unsuspecting internet users into handing over their money or personal information. Online scams have become so prevalent that the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record-breaking 791,790 complaints of suspects in 2020 alone, whereas, in 2022, it hiked up to 800,944.
Types of scamming websites
Scamming websites come in many shapes and sizes, each with its sneaky tactic to separate you from your money and sensitive personal information. These types of scams can range from the obvious to surprisingly sophisticated, so it’s essential to be on the lookout for any warning signs.
Here is a list of some common types of scamming websites which will make you scream “scammer alert website.”
- Fake online stores
- Phishing websites
- Pyramid schemes
- Fake job-posting sites
- Lottery scams
- Charity websites
- Tech support scam
- Auction scams
- Get-rich-quick scam
- Coupon website
Fake online stores
These websites are designed to look like legitimate online stores, but they are operated by scammers who never intend to deliver the products you purchase. Instead, they take your money and run!
For example, in 2020, a website called BestBuy was found to be scamming customers out of their money by advertising electronics at highly-discounted prices. Unfortunately, customers who have paid for these products have yet to receive them.
These are the types of websites that look top-notch from their appearance, just like an original website, but what they do is ask for your credit card information. Phishing websites are usually online banking or email providers who trick you into giving up your login credentials or other personal information.
In 2020, scammers created a fake Bank of America website that looked almost identical to the real thing, with a phone security warning encouraging customers to enter their login information. Those who fell for the scam gave scammers access to their bank accounts.
These websites promise high investment returns, but they require you to recruit new members to keep the scheme going. Eventually, the scheme falls apart, leaving the majority of participants with little to no return on their investment.
Let’s take an example of a 2018 website called My 1 Dollar Business, which was found to be operating as a pyramid scheme, with participants required to pay $1 to join and then recruit others to do the same.
Fake job-posting sites
You heard that right; some websites offer nonexistent job openings or ask you to pay for access to the job listing. In the process, they may ask for your personal information, like your social security number, claiming it is for a background check but then use it for identity theft.
A similar case was encountered in 2019 when the Better Business Bureau warned of a fake job posting website called Job4you that advertised high-paying jobs requiring no experience. Those who applied were required to pay a fee to access the job listing, but the truth is, there were no actual job openings.
You might have seen some links hovering on WhatsApp about winning the lottery by spinning a wheel through a popular website. However, when you do as directed, you will be asked to share the site with 25 or more WhatsApp contacts to get your reward. But that is absolutely rubbish. These websites might even make you pay for charges to receive your prize, which you will probably never receive.
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission warned of a lottery scam that used the name of a legitimate lottery company to trick people into paying fees for supposed prizes.
Charity websites may claim to be raising money for a charitable cause like a natural disaster or victims of accidents and other misfortunes. Still, in reality, the money is going straight to the scammers.
In 2020, the Better Business Bureau warned of a fake charity website that claimed to be raising money for COVID-29 relief efforts. The site was fake, and anyone who donated money lined the pockets of the scammers behind the scheme.
Tech support scam
Some websites are operating as tech support websites claiming to provide top-notch technical services to you. However, not all of them provide support. A tech scam website will convince you that your device has a technical problem and that they can fix it. Little did you know that they will solve the “nonexisting” problem and charge you to fix it that has never been damaged?
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission warned of a tech support scam that involved scammers setting up fake websites that looked like popular tech support companies. Then they would offer to fix computer problems and charge the victim for their services.
No one has been protected from auction scamming. Everyone once in their lives must have been lured by extravagant deals on appliances and other items, which make them spend hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars online and get an old ragged t-shirt in return. Feels like you got scammed, right?
Most scammers use reputable websites to carry out their scams by listing items on websites like amazon or eBay and convincing the buyer to buy from them at a low rate.
You might have come across websites claiming to make you rich by paying you hundreds or thousands of dollars for one hour. Believe me; no one pays thousands to work as a data entry person unless you’re a hitman disguised as a typist!
The first thing such websites do is to ask you for investment and promise to double or triple it within a few weeks. But that will never happen; you’ll lose your money and personal credit card details.
List of scamming websites
Protecting yourself from scamming websites may be tricky, but knowing the accurate list of scamming websites can save you from future hassle. So, look at a list of scamming websites according to TrackingMore.com.
How do they work?
Let’s get to the working of a scamming website. It might come to you as a shock that the operation of a scamming website may involve a group of individuals. They make their websites or products look legit so no one can doubt their evil intentions.
- Once they have created a well-organized and authentic-looking website, they move to their second step, making social media forums and promoting their services and products under social media posts. They further extend their approach to sending phishing emails to people, luring them to fall into their trap.
- One of the primary techniques they use to scam is the “pharming technique,” in which you click on their website, and it redirects you to another page which usually results in the auto-installation of malware into your systems. Moreover, you’ll see compelling ads that make you want to click on them.
- They follow specific steps to make you fall into their malicious trap. First, they will create bait for users so that they can be impressed through their ads and social media presence. They draw the audience’s attention by displaying offers so far as to be true. However, their tactic works, and many naive people become the bait of this scam.
- Once they have gained your trust, their second step is to get your personal account information or money from you. Once you have provided your details, you will not understand where all your money is going. They compromise our privacy by exposing it to people involved in the scam.
- Lastly, the cherry on top is they either permanently steal your information or infect your system with malware that will be responsible for further data breaches. Therefore, keeping an open eye on companies and offers that seem too good to be true is necessary.
How do I verify a website is legitimate?
The ever-present danger is that scamming websites can be threatening. You may find it challenging to know and ask yourself, “How do I verify a website is legitimate?”
It is tough to differentiate between legitimate sites and those out to deceive you. But fear not; we’re here to help you spot that list of scamming websites. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to recognize a scamming website.
- First off, pay attention to the URL. Scammers often use URLs similar to legitimate websites but with minor differences that are easy to miss. For instance, they might replace a letter in the website’s name with a number or add a hyphen like in Amazon, and they might write Amaz0n. Therefore, you must double-check the URL before entering any personal information or making a purchase, and if anything seems off, back away from the site.
- Next, look for security indicators. Legitimate websites use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates to encrypt the data sent between your computer and the website’s server. You can usually tell if a site uses SSL by looking for the “https” in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. If a website doesn’t have indicators, it is possible that a third party could intercept your personal information.
- Another thing to keep an eye out for is poor grammar and spelling. Scammers often use non-native English speakers to write their website content, which can result in awkward phrasing and typos. If a website has a lot of spelling errors and poorly worded sentences, it’s a good idea to be suspicious.
- Another red flag is if a website asks you to provide sensitive information right off the bad. Legitimate websites usually only ask for your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card number once you’ve created an account and are ready to purchase. If a website asks for this information before you’ve even had a chance to look around, that’s a significant warning sign.
- Finally, use your common sense. If something about a website seems off or fishy, it is a scamming website. Don’t be swayed by promises of easy money or instant success- those are almost always scams. Take the time to research a website and its claims before making any financial commitment.
How does a scam website exploit you?
Scam websites can exploit you in several ways, but the most common tactic is to trick you into giving up your personal information. This can be done through phishing scams, fake login pages, or by posing as a legitimate company and asking for payment upfront.
Phishing scams involve sending you an email or message that appears to be from a legitimate source, like your bank or a popular online retailer. The message usually asks you to click on a link and enter your login credentials or personal information. Once you’ve done so, the scammers can use your information for identity theft or to gain access to your accounts.
Fake login pages work on similar mechanisms; scammers create a page that looks just like the login page for a legitimate website but with a different URL. When you enter your login information, scammers can capture and use it.
How can I verify a company is legitimate?
Still asking, “how can I verify a company is legitimate?” Well, there are a few things you can do. Let’s see what those things are.
- First, take a look at their website. A legitimate company usually has a professional-looking website that gives you clear information about what they offer, how to contact them, and any certifications or awards theft have received.
- Another thing you can do is search for company reviews online. Check their website for testimonials, and look for reviews on third-party sites like yelp and Trustpilot/ if the company has a lot of negative reviews or low ratings, that’s a red flag.
- You can also check if industry associations or regulatory bodies accredit the company. If they are, that is a good sign that they follow industry best practices.
- Make sure to verify the company’s contact information too. Legitimate companies will have a physical address, phone number, and email address on their website. If you need clarification, try calling or emailing them to ensure the information is legit and up-to-date.
- Last, check whether the company has any active social media presence. Many companies have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Or Linkedin. If the company engages with its customers on social media, that is a good sign that they care about building relationships with its customers.
By taking these steps, you will indeed feel more confident that the company you’re dealing with is legitimate. However, you must remember that no method is foolproof, but you can minimize the risk by being cautious and researching.
How to take down fake websites?
Taking down a scamming website can be a wild ride, but fear not! Here are some ways to take down those pesky scammers:
- Get you CSI
- Make a viral video
- Turn the tables
- Create a petition
- Report it to the authorities
- Contact the web hosting company
- Use online reporting tools
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
- File a complaint with the consumer protection agency
- Hire a cybersecurity expert
Get you CSI
Channel your inner investigator and gather as much evidence as possible on the website. Take screenshots, record phone calls, documents, and any communication evidence you have had with the company or a business website. Presenting solid proof to the authorities and web hosting companies can increase your chances of getting the site taken down.
Make a viral video
We live in an era where you can become famous through a viral video. Thus, in this case, you must bring your creative skills to the test and make a video warning others about the scamming website. You can create a catchy jingle, animation, graphic, or even testimonials from other victims, post it on social media, tag the website, and voila!
Turn the tables
Scammers hate being scammed, so why not get petty and play along with their witty tactics? Consider playing along with the scam and wasting their time. The more time they waste on you, the less time they have to scam other people. Keep your personal information safe; otherwise, you’ll be at a loss.
Create a petition
Just like people prefer Gofundme to raise funds, you can start a petition on change.org or any other platform to bring attention to the scamming website. Include details about the scam and the harm it has caused to you or other victims. Moreover, you can use your social media platforms to share the petition and ask others to sign and share.
Report it to the authorities
If you believe a website is involved in illegal activities, such as identity theft or fraud, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). These agencies can investigate the website and take legal action if necessary.
Contact the web hosting company
Third-party web hosting companies host most scamming websites. Contact the hosting company and provide evidence that the website is fraudulent. The hosting company may take down the site if it violates its terms of service.
Use online reporting tools
Many search engines and social media platforms have an online reporting tool that allows you to report fraudulent websites. Use these tools to report the website and help raise awareness about the scam.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, investigates businesses and websites suspected of engaging in fraud. File a complaint with BBB to get their attention and help put amendments to the scamming website.
File a complaint with the consumer protection agency
The consumer protection agency in your country or state can provide advice and assistance in dealing with scams. They can also help you file a complaint against the scamming website and take appropriate legal action.
Hire a cybersecurity expert
If the scamming website uses advanced techniques such as phishing or malware, consider hiring a cybersecurity expert to help you remove it. They can investigate and provide evidence to authorities so they can shut the website down.
In conclusion, we hope this “list of scamming websites” has helped educate you about the dangers of online scams. Remember, scamming websites are becoming more sophisticated and harder to spot. Still, being vigilant and cautious can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to these scams.
We encourage you to share this list with your friends and family and spread awareness about the risks associated with online scams. Always be careful when sharing personal information online, and only make payments or transactions if you are confident that the website is legitimate.
If you encounter a website you suspect is a scam, report it immediately to the relevant authorities or contact a cybersecurity expert for assistance. Let’s work together to make the internet a safer place for everyone.
Stay safe and happy browsing!