Copycats have long been an issue in business. Brands have long struggled to handle counterfeit products from being sold with their branding and likeness. However, a trend we’re seeing emerge more commonly while offering cybersecurity in Miami is copycat websites.
What are Copycat Websites?
A copycat website is exactly what it sounds like: a site designed to look like and represent the official website. For example, one of these sites may mimic a local government website or a payment portal.
Often, the site has a very similar domain name and will copy branding and images to look legitimate.
The site may:
- Significantly upcharge for products or services
- Steal a person’s personal information
- Take your money and never deliver on its promises
Imagine if you typed in the wrong website for a leading financial institution, and everything on the page looked exactly the same as the original site. It's perfectly possible that you may then input your data into the site and not even know it.
How to Spot Copycat Websites
Spotting copycat websites is possible and easier than if you try to spot a deep fake or an advanced security concern. A few of the ways to spot a fake website are to:
- Review the URL to ensure that it’s valid
- Look for https next to the URL
- If going to a government website, verify that the URL includes “.gov” and not something like “.org”
- Read the text on the website and look for any information about “affiliation” with the official website
Additionally, some security software can be installed to run in the background of computers and devices to scan for malicious websites. Often, these real-time solutions will have a blacklist of potential scam websites and block them.
The security solution may also have artificial intelligence and algorithms which scan the URL to identify a copycat website. Installing one of these advanced solutions is a good way to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a copycat website.
Adhering to security best practices and even training employees in a business environment to spot these copycat websites are both very important steps to take.
You can also try and find the official website by going to the website’s official social media profiles. Unfortunately, if you use a search engine to search for the site, you may see a fake website in the results.
However, if the site relates to a multinational brand or something similar, it will often be at the top of search results.
You can also call the company or organization’s official phone number to verify that the website is legitimate. Unfortunately, there are bad actors that will create copycat websites to exploit you in some manner.
If you remain diligent, you can identify these sites and stop yourself from becoming a victim.
Utilizing the right real-time security tools can help you reduce the risk of going to a copycat website. Our team offers cybersecurity in Miami and can help install Internet security tools to protect you and/or your business from the potential threat of a copycat website.