Time for a Spelling Test

Some web addresses are simple to remember. Some, not so much. Some are easy to spell (who can’t spell ebay.com?). Others, not so much. Here’s a personal favorite of mine:

http://www.thelongestdomainnameintheworldandthensomeandthensomemoreandmore.com/

Admittedly, I mostly like it because of the Douglas Adams quote. The name itself is terrible and pointless and bound to get messed up. Which is a big problem.

In most cases, when you get a website almost right, you’ll wind up at a landing page of some kind, typically with dozens of links having to do with the general topic you were looking up in the first place. But not always.

Identity thieves are getting trickier. First they tried to trick you over the phone. They they turned to email and tried to scare you with official-looking messages supposedly from your own bank. Now they’ve taken to copying actual websites and hosting them on domains very similar to the actual site. So if you misspell your banks website, you might wind up on a page that looks just like your bank’s and acts just like your bank’s. Only, it may not be your bank at all. I could be a trap to capture your login and password.

So how can you avoid these kind of traps?

  1. Double-check every address you enter, especially long ones.
  2. Use bookmarks for common sites.
  3. Take advantage of your browser’s predictive typing feature, but be careful. It can help make sure you get the correct site, but if have already landed in a fake site, it could also prompt you for the fake site first. (See tip #1 and always double-check.)
  4. If anything about a site looks unusual, get out of there. Close your browser completely, then re-open it and type the real address again.

If you wind up on a fake site and do log in (or even if you think you may have logged in to a fake site), go to the real site immediately and change your password! And if you use that same or similar password on any other site, change those too.

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