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Last updated on: January 24, 2024
It’s a frustrating situation to be in.
You have a business website. A fraudster copies it and poses like they’re your company. They use your website layout and text and sample your products. Their site looks like yours but with a spoofed URL, making it confusing for unsuspecting customers or business partners to spot.
So what’s the best you can do in this type of scenario?
Report and take the fake website down.
You’ll see how to do that today.
But before we proceed, a more crucial question to ask yourself is: If I take down one fake website, would that prevent other fraudsters from spoofing our website and squeezing our revenue?
As of 2017, over 46,000 fake websites were created daily.
That’s about 1.385 million fake websites created in one year alone. This number increases monthly and even went up to 2.3 million in May of that year:
While reporting this troubling statistic, HelpNet Security noted:
In other words, scammers are getting smarter.
Take one down today, and they’ll resurface with more sophisticated ways to fake your website tomorrow. Nick Montagu, the CEO of Alphawhale, corroborates:
But what new ways are fraudsters using to fake websites, you may ask?
Domain name squatting has gone beyond using fake domain extensions. Today, scammers use various tricks to deceive and steal revenue from unknowing customers.
Here are the various formats to keep an eye on.
These site-faking tricks deserve a guide of their own because they all have subtle nuances used by an increasing number of scammers who create fake websites.
It’s hard to keep up.
For instance, FILA, an enterprise company with massive internal and external resources, struggled to keep up with fraud:
It’s why FILA leveraged a Revenue Recovery platform like Red Points to monitor and have, so far, removed 297,795 spoof listings online. Other brands and executives also use Red Points to automate monitoring and taking down variants of fake websites 24/7.
Take Robert B., a VP of Operations:
[Red Points Review on G2]
Beyond the crafty games of domain squatting, there’s a whole other world of fake websites out there, giving businesses a real run for their money.
These aren’t just your garden-variety imposters; we’re talking about everything from crafty misinformation sellers to bold counterfeit shops, each one a unique challenge in the fight to protect your brand and your customers.
Each type of fake website is designed to exploit different vulnerabilities, whether it’s a user’s trust, desire for a good deal, or investment goals. By identifying and addressing these varied threats, you can safeguard your brand’s integrity, revenue, and customer trust.
Picture this: you’re monitoring your brand’s online presence, and suddenly, you come across a website.
Something feels off.
The site mirrors the look and feel of your own, perhaps a little too well. It’s as if it’s trying to pass off as your brand, masquerading among the ranks of established ecommerce players.
Today, we’re diving into that. We’ll explore how to spot those sneaky, deceitful websites – from phishing schemes to counterfeit marketplaces. After all, in the high-stakes world of brand reputation, falling prey to an online scam is not an option.
In essence, spotting fake websites is about staying sharp and questioning the details. Each tip we’ve shared is a tool in your kit against online deception. Keep these pointers in mind, and you’ll navigate the digital world with greater confidence and security.
If you’re dealing with a few fake sites, you can report and take them down on your own. Here’s a short tutorial we created to help you:
Once you find a fake website, sending a cease and desist letter to the site admin or domain registrant is the first step to take when you report a fake website. A domain registrant search service like ICANN should be able to pull up this information on a fake website.
But most registrants won’t respond to your letter.
In this case, you should also send a C&D letter to the CMS platform the fake domain runs on. Popular CMS platforms like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc., have guides on this.
If you still don’t get a response, try these:
Google can also help.
It takes four steps to report a fake website to Google:
Reporting scam websites via the steps above is free.
But what if you’re dealing with higher volumes of spoof websites? Worse, what if even after taking one down, another three to five pop up? And more importantly, what if you don’t have the time to monitor the various ways scammers are trying to spoof your website?
Again, that’s where busy executives turn to Red Points:
[Red Points Review on G2]
Red Points’ robust website takedown solution and dedicated Customer Success Manager assigned to each customer do 97% of the work on reporting and taking down fake and scam websites.
Once you log in, you’ll, among other things, see two crucial data summaries relevant to taking down fake websites at scale:
Here’s how Red Points helps report and take down a fake website.
At the core, Red Points is the Revenue Recovery platform concerned with helping brands block and recover revenue leaks scammers try to steal via fake sites, online scams, and counterfeiting. The platform works 24/7 in a 3-step funnel:
Based on the documentation given when signing up e.g. trademarks, patents, and copyrights, Red Points monitors the global web for all infringements directly or indirectly related to your brand. That´s why as a first step, it’s critical for your brand to have all your intellectual property rights registered before leveraging Red Points’ platform.
The team then defines automation rules to facilitate the process of having any fake website removed online. Our platform learns over time based on users making the results more accurate over time.
That’s how it auto-detects fake websites:
In the example above, there were over 36,000 possible copyright infringements. That’s too much for anyone to deal with at once.
And you don’t need to.
The advanced machine learning algorithm built into Red Points does the heavy lifting of grouping the incidents you should evaluate (1). It also groups the once perceived to be of high risk (2):
Red Points works in the background to automate the takedown process for scam websites based on conditions approved by you.
Not only can you see reports of how many fake websites got taken down within a period, but you can also see the economic value (i.e., revenue leaks blocked and recovered) too:
One more thing.
Busy executives who come for the efficiency of Red Points’ in-built detection AI end up staying for their dedicated Account Manager.
And those are not our words:
[Red Points Review on G2]