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Can you spot a fake website?

Posted at 7:36 PM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 21:36:31-05

From look-a-like sites to web addresses that are a letter off, you are closer to being scammed than you might realize.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can avoid falling into the trap when shopping online for holiday gifts this year.

"You want it to be a secure site," says Emily Long, a with consumer security website asecurelife.com.

Secure websites are typically indicated in the address bar with "https" rather than "http".

Long says fake websites are often created outside of the U.S., so obvious grammar errors and misspellings are a common sign.

She says to pay particular attention to the domain name you enter, because it may not be the one you actually want.

"Often a site will look like a site that you're familiar with," she says.

More red flags include, no contact information or about page, and no links to active social media accounts.

"The other thing you can do is actually find the age of the website," Long says.

-Can do that by googling  "Site:" with the web address you want to look up.
-Click the "Tools" button on the middle of the page.
-Select the "Anytime" dropdown box underneath the Google search bar.  That will allow you to pick a range of dates to see how far back Google catalogued hits for the website.

"If you find a website that doesn't have a history a year or two old or even a month or two-- that is probably an indication that you should look into it a little bit more," Long says.