You will come across fake website links in emails, on websites, social media, text messages and more.
In this context, “fake” means a link that doesn’t take you where it says but instead goes to some other website or web page.
Why do people make such fake links?
Mostly there is a deliberate intention to mislead – promise a link to one site but take you to a different site where you don’t want to go.
This may be an attempt to infect your computer with malware or to get you to a page you have little interest in or simply to get you to look at a video or a webpage for which the link poster gets paid per visitor.
How to Identify Fake Links
- On a PC hover the cursor over the link and it should show the real destination URL. If this does not match what the link says then you have a fake link and you should not click it.
- On a MAC make sure you have the status bar showing first
- On Android phones you can press and keep your finger on the link and a box will open offering options but at the top it shows the complete link
Some webpages have very long addresses and if you’re sending a link to someone or posting on Twitter for example then some way to shorten these links would be welcome. There are various services on the Internet that can do just that. Twitter does this automatically for long links.
These shortened URLs make it difficult to identify the destination of the link. If in doubt – do not click.
Very Long URLs and Email Addresses
Most people create short URLs i.e. links as they want them to be easy to remember and to type e.g. fightback.ninja/the-inflammation-scam/
But some large websites deliberately create long URLs in order to make the purpose of the page easy to understand from the name e.g. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/content/animals/kidscorner/classification/kc_classification_appearance.htm
Scammers use long URLs in order to try to hide the true destination of the URL. E.g. email@example.com
That is not Lloyds Bank.
Scammers also use the confusion trick with email addresses e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
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