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How to Spot Scams in Website Form Submissions

How to Spot Scams in Website Form Submissions

We’ve all received our fair share of scams online. Whether it’s a faraway prince emailing to ask for money, or a cybercriminal pretending to work at your bank, scams always seem to find their way into our inboxes. Scams are nothing to be afraid of, but they should nevertheless be taken seriously. So, how can you be sure if a form submission is cause for concern? In this blog, we look at a few of the commonalities you can look for when you suspect a form submission could be a hoax.

Their claims seem ridiculous, or you don’t know what they’re talking about.

One thing we see a lot is a submission stating, “You’ve stolen our work/images,” or even, “Your website will be shut down in ___ days if we do not receive payment!” These messages can feel scary, but if you don’t know what they’re talking about, that’s probably a good indication that they’re not true. You can also have peace of mind if the images on your website were added by Forbin! We always adhere to copyright law by only including images we have the rights to.

Here’s an example of a recent scam a few of our clients have received:

You’ll notice that this submission has a couple of the aspects mentioned above: a scary sense of urgency, along with no previous warning being received. If you look closely, you’ll even notice a grammatical error. Even though this message appears urgent, it’s important to read thoroughly before acting. If you’re concerned about this type of message, check on the status of your domain by contacting VGM Forbin (or your web provider) before clicking on the links or providing any type of payment.

They provide very little information on who they are or what company they work for.

At the bottom of a cybercriminal’s form submissions, you may notice that they only provide partial information, like being the Operational Manager. However, it’s not obvious what company they work for, or how to get into further contact with them past the email address used to submit the form. This is a good clue that this is a scam. If they list the name of their company but nothing else, a simple internet search of the company can usually tell you if the content of their submission is legitimate.

Here’s an example of a form submission with little-to-no details on the sender:

As you can see in this example, Emma Smith gives no information on what company she is working for, nor does she provide a way to contact her other than the email in which she sent the submission. Along with these warning signs, the message is also vague, and feels as though it could be sent to any company with a website.

There’s a link on the email or submission that can’t be found with a simple Internet search.

It’s incredibly important to never click on any link provided in a submission where you do not recognize the sender. Cybercriminals may try to prompt you to.

  • Click on a link
  • Submit a payment
  • Learn more about them

If you’re unsure of the link’s legitimacy, it’s always best not to click it.

A spam submission we see a lot at VGM Forbin is from someone named Mel, or a variation of that name. Here’s an example:

Along with other spam tactics, such as a scary message and no additional information on her company or business, Melissa also provides a link to “download and check it out yourself.” Be sure to never click on any link like this, as it could be dangerous to your device and network. Our team here at Forbin is always sure to use images and content that we legally have permissions to use.

They require money upfront for services you did not receive.

Companies should never ask for compensation before providing a product or service. If you receive a message asking for money before anything has been done, there’s a good chance this is a scam. You should never give money or account information in response to these messages. If your product or service requires a down payment, the company will always explain this to you in advance and will not ask for payment over a form submission. Additionally, it may also be a scam if a company claims they provided a service or product for you and you don’t recognize them, nor the service they claim to provide.

For better understanding, we can take another look at a previous example. This submission demands payment and threaten to shut down the website if they do not receive their payment in a specific amount of time.

It should also be noted that if your website is hosted by Forbin, then you did not receive this service from this company. Companies you do business with will never use a form submission to get in contact with you regarding payments or urgent matters, especially VGM Forbin.

Even if there’s a little doubt (or a lot of doubt) on whether a form submission is a scam, the safest option will always be to flag the submission and ask for help. You can notify VGM Forbin IT or your IT team for advice on the next steps to take.

We’ve all received our fair share of scams online. Whether it’s a faraway prince emailing to ask for money, or a cybercriminal pretending to work at your bank, scams always seem to find their way into our inboxes. Scams are nothing to be afraid...