Fake websites are the most common way that scammers try and lure computer users in to handing over their passwords and other sensitive information. These sites are often referred to as phishing scams, they are usually designed to look like legitimate sites and often contain characteristics of the genuine website they are trying to copy.

Fortunately there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from such scams. Most modern internet browsers have built in anti-phishing filters which will warn you of any website found to be a spoof.

If you are running Internet Explorer the first thing to check is that you are running the latest version (Internet Explorer 8), this can be done by going to help and then clicking on about. If you aren’t running Internet Explorer 8 then you can download it here. Internet Explorer 8 is designed to help you avoid fradulent websites, phishing scams, viruses and other malware.

The smart screen filter which is built in to Internet Exporer 8 helps detect potentially unsafe websites that you browse. It also makes it easier to identify websites that are using fake webaddresses. The domain name in the address bar at the top is highlighted in black and the rest of the URL in grey.

In the Firefox web browser there is also a phishing filter, this and it’s options that relate to it can be found by going to the tools menu then clicking on options. When presented with the options dialogue box click on the security tab at the top. You need to make sure you have all three of the top options ticked (which are normally enabled by default).

As we often recommend and install Google Chrome for our clients I just thought I would run through the phishing filter options within Google Chrome.
If you click on the spanner icon at the top right you will then be presented with a little menu, if you click on options you will then be presented with the options window. If you go to the third tab which is labelled “under the bonnet” check that the phishing and malware protection option is ticked (again this should be enabled by default).

Extra Protection

If you want that bit extra protection for your internet browser there is a piece of software that can be installed to run on either three of the internet browsers that I have discussed. This piece of software by a company called Web of Trust (WOT) installs a piece of software to work alongside your internet browser. As you carry out searches on the internet or visit a website, it checks the website with their online database; where millions of websites are rated by their online community.

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