Skip to main content

IT@Cornell


How to Spot Fake Addresses

One of the best ways you can protect yourself against deception is to check the plausibility of an Internet address.  Both web sites and the originating site of an email usually have an address based on the domain name system, a name ending in .com, .gov, .edu, and the like.  The first thing you should ask yourself is whether the last part of the name makes sense for the purpose of the site.  Would you, for instance, expect to receive a government offer from a site whose name ends in .com instead of .gov? 

See the Understanding Site Names to view a table of common extensions.

Sometimes, the site's name will end in a country code.  When one of these appears, you need to judge its reasonableness.  For example, would your bank be writing you from Romania, or directing you to a web site there?

Even when the site name you see seems plausible, watch for these other signs: