So someone’s sent you an email, and it looks genuine, but you’re not sure and are tempted to click a link…
The first rule of course is don’t! Google the website and then click on it (though sometimes Google can produce misdirecting results).
I’ve just been glancing at some of the ENORMOUS amounts of spam to some of my public emails (100s a day) – so I thought I’d quickly explain two very basic rules.
Rule 1: Ignore what the link says
By simply ‘hyperlinking’ text you can make the link say anything.
This can be done legitimately…
Yet it can also be used to deliberately confuse, try this…
To spot what the link usually is, move your curser over the link and you’ll see the real destination appear (either in a little box or somewhere else on your browser screen, look around).
Rule 2: It’s the end bit of the URL that counts, not the beginning
The URL is a site’s web address, it’s the bit in the browser bar when you click to a site (or as explained above what you see when you hover your mouse over it).
To work out which site you are actually being sent to, what you need is the bit just BEFORE the .com or .co.uk or .tv etc.
So in the link :
it’s the moneysavingexpert.com which lists the website name, but it’s not always that obvious.
Now look at this link, a common bank scam type:
While it’s easy to think it’s an Abbey link, it isn’t, it’s a link to a site called “onlinesignup.com” – DOTs are used as separators and anything before the last DOT before the .com is irrelevant.
Confused? Let me use some examples to help
Look at the link for this site’s forums: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com
The bit before the first dot is simply a name of an area on the site, it’s the bit at the end that counts.
Try the ones below to see whether you know where it’s going:
- http://moneysavingexpert.forums.com – is not this site it’s forums.com
- http://www.moneysavingexpert.1.com – is taking you to the link 1.com (doesn’t exist), not here
- http://www3.moneysavingexpert.com – could be taking you to moneysavingexpert.com (as it’s the thing before the .com).
Therefore when checking sites out always look for the bit just before the .com to be (mostly) sure where you’re going, though remember web scammers develop new tricks every day.