Fraudulent, ”fake” internet banking sites
Banking has, in the last ten years or so, had an extremely fast-paced development. Credit-cards have been around for som time, and is a proven and tested method of payment by now. Debit-cards were next, and is almost certain to take over the American market in the future, as it has on the European.
With the rise of electronic means of payment, along with the massive development of the internet, came internet banking.
For those not in the know, internet banks are your local bank’s arms into cyberspace, where the customers can check their balance, accept deposits, pay their bills and a number of other services.
Internet, or online banks have had their number of fraud-attempts,
both directed at themselves, and at their customers.
Such attempts are still going on, and if you are an active e-mail user, chances are good that you have at some point received one or more of what we call “phishing” e-mails – e-mails designed to trick you into giving your password and username, in order to gain access to your online banking.
These Phishing-attempts are covered in another article [LINK IN HERE]
What this article is about
is Fraudulent Bank Sites, i.e. sites that claim to be an online bank, but are in reality operated by criminals, most often in relation to a 419 scam.
The sites are set up to look like a legitimate bank – there will in most cases be a very realistic login-screen, or screens, with many of the bells and whistles you will expect when logging into something as serious as a bank.
There is a need to be careful,
however, no matter how good the bank looks.
Many criminal webdesigners have become quite skilled in imitating the look and feel of an online bank, and will go as far as they can in order for you to trust their site.
While there is a number of ways to spot that a banking site is fraudulent, we will not include that list here, as it may be utilized by scammers in the search for a better way to steal your money.
What we will
do, is provide you with a simple checklist that should put you a few steps ahead of most fraudulent banks.
The questions to ask yourself, and some of the answers;
- Is this a new bank?
If you’ve only recently become a customer of the bank, or you signed up for an account because you got a commercial or a 419-letter in your email, you can be sure that the bank is fake. No legitimate bank advertises their services in spam, and if you received the link from a scammer, it’s quite self-explanatory really.
- If it looks like a bank you know, does the URL (the internet address displayed at the top of your browser) coincide with what you know the bank’s name to be?
Internet domain names are expensive, in many cases, and once a name is taken, it’s gone from the internet. Therefore, when a scammer is imitating a real bank, the domain name will differ from the bank’s name – if ever so slightly. Look closely, and be careful.
- Does the page have SSL encryption?
Banks that have online branches are under strict regulations from government agencies in all countries, to prevent fraud.
In most cases, the site has to be (and this may be a bit technical) on dedicated servers, i.e. no other sites are permitted to be on the same servers as the bank-sites.
They also need encryption, so that none of the information you send, can be read by others – just you and the bank are to know what you say and type. Dedicated servers are very expensive, and so is SSL encryption.
A fake bank will in 99% of the cases not have SSL encryption.
You can find out if the site has SSL by looking in the lower right hand corner of your browser – if there’s a padlock symbol there, SSL is present. If not, the site is not encrypted, and therefore no allowed to do banking. Also, the URL in your browser’s address bar should start with “https:// “ instead of the usual “http:// “.
Here at Fraudwatchers.org, we have people that are experts in spotting fake banks, and getting them shut down. If you are switching to a new bank, or if you are unsure about your new online bank, ask us, and we will tell you either way.
If you have the slightest amount of doubt, or just want to be extra sure, don’t hesitate to send us a question, and we will gladly help you.
We verify a bank’s status by investigation it’s status with the government agencies involved, internet hosting companies, and a variety of DNS checks, IP tracerts and not to mention – a trained eye.
We’re here to help.
If you would like to check if your online bank is listed in the most comprehensive database of fraudulent bank sites on the internet, visit this link to Artists Against 419
This article Copyright:
Written by Crux Polaris