Monday, December 12, 2011

Scammers Buy Misspelled Wikipedia Domains, Setup Survey Scams

Type URLs in carefully!Are you prone to making mistakes when typing URL’s into your browser?

If so, you may wind up visiting the spoofed version of the website that you were intending to visit.

Typosquatters snatch up misspelled versions of popular domain names in hopes of catching visitors that accidentally mistype the target website’s URL in their browser.

By setting up fraudulent websites that closely resemble their legitimate counterparts, cybercrooks hope to capture login information when victims attempt to access their accounts or obtain personal information from the end-user with the help of a survey scam.

Daniel Wesemann posted an example of a spoofed site configured to do the latter on the SANS Internet Storm Center blog this morning.

In his post, Wesemann warned that cybercriminals had nabbed several misspellings of Wikipedia and set the erroneous domains to all redirect to survey scams in order to harvest the sensitive details of anyone who happened to mistype their way to the booby-trapped domains.

The domains promoting survey scams include:






Like any other survey scam out there, victims are promised a hot commodity item, like an iPad 2 or a gift card to a popular retailer in exchange for their confidential information. However, hidden in the block of fine print at the bottom of the page are the conditions that you must accept, which in this case involves your personal information being shared with third-party companies that will be more than happy to send hoards of spam to you via email, snail mail and SMS.

This isn’t the first time that typosquatters have taken advantage of the sloppy typing of folks trying to visit a popular website. Just earlier this year, Twitter shut down the site,, which was using the Twitter brand and survey scams to finagle personal information out of unsuspecting visitors.

Do you double-check the address bar before entering sensitive information?

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Photo Credit: Marcie Casas

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