Protecting your website from copycats and preventing it from getting spoofed is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses – both big and small. From damaging your business reputation to tricking your customers, bad actors can have several motives to copy your website. But all of them lead to the same conclusion – scammers stealing your identity and assets, leading to your business losing revenue.
In this article, we discuss:
Spoofing a website is one of the easiest things to do and it doesn’t even require coding or advanced technical knowledge. It is also one of the oldest tricks in the books and the reason scammers continue to use this trick is simply because it works.
The main methods that scammers use for website spoofing include:
This method involves registering a domain name that is similar to an existing business name or just registering the same domain name but with a different website extension.
For instance, if your website is registered under brandname.com, the scammers may register brandname.co.au or brandname.co.uk, to fool customers into believing they are on the official website.
In some cases, scammers hold onto the squatted domain name without impersonating the original website, just to sell it back to the business and make quick profits.
With typosquatting, scammers try to lure in customers that end up mistyping the web address of a business. They register domains that have similar names as some businesses but with a small difference – there is a typo in the domain names.
Sometimes the typo is so small that you may not even notice it, especially when you get directed to a website that looks almost identical to the original website in terms of design and content.
For instance, scammers could register domain names like amxzon.com or amazxn.com just to confuse website users.
URL cloaking involves using specialized scripts to cover up the actual URL and make web users into thinking they are being led to a trusted website. Scammers can then share these cloaked URLs with unsuspecting Internet users to trick them.
Spoofing is typically done to steal sensitive information. This can be personal data like names, email addresses, and even login credentials. Scammers can also steal the financial information of customers making purchases on the website thinking it’s the original and gain access to credit card details, social security numbers, and bank account numbers.
Apart from this, scammers may also use website spoofing to sell counterfeit copies of products. They copy the business’s website design, content, product listings, and even trademarks to mimic the original website and try to sell counterfeits to unknowing customers.
When unaware customers end up buying a counterfeit, assuming they are buying original products, it can severely affect their experience with your brand. The customers will eventually end up blaming your business for the counterfeits and even write bad reviews online, all of which can severely affect your brand reputation.
When customers that are genuinely interested in your business end up receiving very low-quality products, it can directly affect how they view your products. Customers that have already been tricked into buying counterfeit products can be unlikely to make another purchase with your brand.
Moreover, customers can also share sensitive and personal information on spoofed websites which can lead to them becoming victims of fraud and phishing.
Every time a counterfeit product is sold, it causes direct sales loss to your business. The problem can get even more complicated as many of the customers purchasing your products may not have the knowledge that they are buying fake products. Spoofed websites lead to reduced traffic to your business website, decreased revenue, and depleted customer loyalty.
Protecting your website from copycats is essential if you want to retain your intellectual property and protect your brand reputation. The longer it takes for you to act against website spoofing, the more damage it can have on your revenue.
See how you can automatically find and remove spoofing sites that take advantage of your brand.