Everybody loves a good bargain, coupon or discount code. But it has once again become clear that you can’t trust everything you find online or receive in a text message.
There are plenty of fake apps and services that will do nothing but steal your details, and it’s getting worse. Criminals responsible are becoming craftier, spoofing real websites and services and loading them with malware. Tap or click here for details on spoofing.
This was recently highlighted by security company Pradeo when fake versions of Netflix appeared online. Keep reading for ways to spot fake websites and how to stay protected.
Here’s the backstory
The spoofing of websites and apps can be shockingly well done, and any inattentive user could mistake it for the real thing. Criminals copy sites and apps like Netflix and inject them with malware to steal your details. Some even try to collect your banking or credit card details.
But how do people end up on these fake sites or download scam apps? Various tactics are used, but the most prominent has been through text messages. These often claim that Netflix is giving away free subscriptions. The message will also contain a link, and once clicked, it takes you to the fake site.
A link to a fake website can also be spread through advertising found online. They can look incredibly like real ads from legitimate companies.
Fake Netflix sites will have a strikingly similar design, functionality and available films for streaming. To claim your free subscription or additional months, you are often asked for your details. Pradeo explains that these fake sites have been injected with malware, spyware and/or adware.
How to stay safe from fake apps
It can be difficult to stay safe online, especially when scammers are meticulous about the details. But there will always be ways in which you can outsmart them. Here are some preventative measures:
- Stay cautious – Be on the lookout for smishing (SMS phishing) and phishing campaigns. These are unsolicited text messages or emails that urge you to click on a link or download an attachement.
- Don’t click those links – Never click on a link in an unsolicited text message or email that you don’t know the sender of, it could be malicious.
- Go to the source – Before accepting an offer of a free or discounted subscription, go directly to the company’s official website to verify it’s real. Don’t click on an ad or link inside a text message.
- Stick with official app stores – Only download apps from official app stores. Avoid third-party app stores or links to apps through online ads. They could lead you to malware-infected apps.