Fake Websites-All Too Many
A simple search on Google of your brand might surprise you. It is very likely that fake websites crowd the search results. The proliferation of fake websites is a significant concern.
These websites are created for misleading unsuspecting customers, selling counterfeit products, phishing attacks, spreading malware, stealing personal information, etc.
Identifying Bad Players
Given this situation, it is very important for you to stay on guard and ensure that you are engaging with official or authorized websites.
Let us explore various signs and indicators to help you distinguish between legit/authorized and fake websites.
Check the URLs:
- One of the most distinguishable signs of a fake website is the dubious URL.
- A legit website would typically have a clear and concise domain name that reflects the business or organization.
- On the contrary, fake websites often use misspelled or slightly altered variations of popular domains to trick users. For instance, instead of “paypal.com,” a fake website might use “paypall.com.”
- Users should always double-check the URL for any such discrepancies before entering personal information.
Poor Design Quality, Creatives, and Layout:
- Legit websites invest a great deal of time and resources in creating a professional website.
- Fake websites; however, often lack this attention to detail.
- Poor design, mismatched colour schemes, low-quality creatives and graphics are common indicators of a fake website and a potential scam.
Grammatical Errors & Poor Language:
- A good business takes pride in its online presence and ensures that the content is well‑written and free of grammatical errors.
- Fake websites, on the other hand, may have poorly written content, spelling and grammatical errors. These are definite red flags.
- A legit website provides clear and accessible contact information, including a physical address, phone number, and email address.
- Fake websites often hide or omit this information to avoid detection.
- Thoroughly check for contact details and verify their authenticity before engaging with any website.
Too Good to Be True Offers:
- Scammers often use enticing offers to lure users into providing sensitive information.
- If the deals or discounts seem too good to be true, it is an indicator of a fake website.
- A simple online search could help you confirm the legitimacy of such offers.
What Should Brands Do About Fake Websites?
Just bring them down; but how!
Report them to Authorities:
- Report the fake websites to relevant authorities, such as law enforcement agencies, cybercrime units, or consumer protection agencies.
- Provide complete and detailed information about the website, the URL, its purpose, and any evidence of fraudulent activity including screenshots and customer complaints.
Reach out to the Hosting Provider:
- Identify the hosting provider of the fake website and report these websites.
- Most hosting providers have protocols in place to investigate and take down websites involved in fraudulent activities.
Report to Search Engines:
- Report these websites to all major search engines; Google, Bing, etc.
- These search engines can deindex the site and reduce its discoverability. This will prevent unsuspecting customers from falling prey to such fraudulent websites.
Engage Brand Rights Enforcement Agencies:
- Tie up with ORM companies, who have the right brand rights enforcement expertise, to delete fake websites.
- Conceptualize and implement strategies to suppress the fake website’s presence in search results.
Social Listening and Public Awareness:
- Leverage social listening tools to monitor and detect fake websites.
- Run customer-awareness campaigns about your official websites and customer support channels. Educate customers on means of identifying fraudulent fake websites and being on guard.
Fake websites are here to stay and will try and exploit unsuspecting customers. By being vigilant and on guard, customers can protect themselves from becoming victims.
Brands and businesses should take proactive measures to take down fake websites and protect their brand reputation. Entrusting it to a brand rights enforcement company with the wherewithal and validated capability is your best.