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Spotting Suspicious Links and Websites

Are you sure you know where you’re going? Malicious people often try to trick people into going to websites by sending links in emails, texts, social media messaging platforms, etc. It is important to know how to spot a suspicious link or website to keep your devices and information safe.

  • It’s important to see the true link behind any hot link and be able to figure out where the website address (URL) will take you on the internet.  You can hover your mouse over a hot link to see the true website address.
  • Look for misspellings or other incorrect characters in the website address.
  • The two words just to the left of the end of the website address divided by a period are called the domain name.  For example, the domain name for www.my100bank.com would be my100bank.com.
  • Sometimes there will be subdomains in front of the domain.  Malicious people will often put a familiar website word in the subdomain to try to trick you.  For example, www.my100bank.badguy.com’s domain would really be badguy.com.
  • Remember, you are looking for the terms closest to the end of the URL with the two words connected by a period.  The words, if any, after the domain name and / are subdirectories.  For example, www.business.com/names would be the domain business.com and the subfolder would be names.
  • Lastly, know where you are going geographically.  At the end of the URL, you may see a two character term.  For example, www.business.au would be in Australia or www.business.ca would be Canada.  You can find list of country codes online.
  • If you think a link looks suspicious, look for the website online you want to go to instead of depending on a link sent to you electronically.
  • Tiny URLs shorten website addresses and hide the domain name.  Malicious people often use tiny URLs to in order to hide true website address so beware of clicking on them.  It’s better to go to a company’s website by going to the known website address.

If you pay attention to website addresses, you’ll know where you’re going online is where you want to be!

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