Staying vigilant - how to spot a fake website

A screengrab of the official CPF website showing a message warning of the fake site.
A screengrab of the official CPF website showing a message warning of the fake site.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM CPF WEBSITE

SINGAPORE - Phishing sites are a common form of online scams. They involve the use of fake emails and "look-alike" websites to deceive respondents into entering personal information.

This information may include financial data such as credit card numbers, account user names and passwords.

But users can exercise caution to keep themselves safe, said the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

"Users should exercise caution not to click on links provided in suspicious e-mails to access websites and not to provide personal information to requests received via email," the CSA said in an advisory on Wednesday (Dec 16).

It listed some tell-tale signs of a fake website:

1) Suspicious website address.

2) The address of the webpage where you submit information is unsecured - meaning it does not start with "https://" and the lock symbol is missing from the status bar.

3) Asking for more information than required, such as credit card numbers and security code.

4) Obvious spelling and grammatical errors.

The presence of these signs should raise red flags, said senior analyst Clement Teo of market research firm Forrester.

"If a website asks for information that is out of the norm, you should be more wary," he said.