Some Internet addresses (also known as URLs) are straightforward e .g www. Amazon.com is Amazon.
But many addresses are more complex and scammers often try to hide their Internet address, by making it look like the organisation they are pretending to be from.
e.g. www.amazon.truesite.com is not Amazon, it is truesite (a made-up name for this example).
Internet addresses are made up of parts (sometimes called labels) as follows:
[Left Hand Side] . top level domain / [Right Hand Side]
- The top level domain is – .com or .co.uk or .pl or .biz etc.
This is the country code (e.g. uk for United Kingdom) or generic name such as .biz or .com for businesses or .org for organisations or .taxi for taxi companies or .net for Internet operations etc.
- The right hand side after the slash which is after the top level domain is to specify which page of the website and pass parameters to that page e.g. the user name
- The left hand side is the part of most interest as it contains the organisations domain name e.g. the FBI in fbi.gov or Barclays in www.barclays.co.uk
- The http:// and https:// at the front of an Internet address just specifies that it is a website rather than something else and the ‘s’ means secure although you cannot trust that sites with the ‘s’ are actually secure unless you make further checks.
That left hand side is where scammers try to disguise the real domain name. This is possible because anything that comes before the organisation’s domain name can be ignored (for the [purpose of assessing the security of an address) so scammers can put in whatever they want.
e.g. www.microsoft.support.trusite.com is nothing to do with Microsoft – it’s just truesite.com in fact.
And https://login.office.microsoft.com.truesite.com/microsoft-support/ is just truesite.com again.
So, do look carefully at website addresses before you click on a link and do identify the company’s domain name and not be distracted by the left hand side stuff before the domain name or anything after that slash following the domain name.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.