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How to spot an online scam

It was announced today that Newcastle University was subject to a scam, more specifically the students were. A fake website was produced to try and get students to input their banking details and their passport details.

Obviously this is illegal, but there are some simple ways to spot a fake or scamming website.

Check the domain name. This is how the Newcastle University scam site was spotted, as it was called Newcastle International University. Scammers will often slightly change the domain name in order to fool as many people they can. If you have any worries then head back to Google and search for the site you're looking for in there and see what comes up. The correct site will usually be at the top of the list.

Sometimes if it's a selling site then the offer may be too good to be true. Only a few weeks ago a man appeared on the BBC, complaining about a fake camera he had bought, however he had paid about £100 less than the RRP on a website he had never heard of. Simple Common sense would have prevailed here.

Take a few minutes to have a look around the website. Look at the about us page and the customer reviews. If the reviews all appear to be of the same ilk and format then it should start ringing alarm bells. Even companies with excellent customer service records have bad reviews, it's normal.

The big ben of alarm bells should ring when you come to pay for something and then it asks you to pay for it via bank transfer. No legitimate company in the world will do this which makes it an absolute sure fire way of spotting a scam.

If you think you've come across some cyber crime then head over to this website and follow the links.