Scam Warning and Some Tips to Help You Stay Safe

I spotted this post over at UK Chat Genealogy warning of bogus sites mimicking genuine ones with addresses that are so close to the real thing only the most observant would notice the difference. Pop over and have a read, and take note of the urls used – whatever the reason for the fakes, it is unlikely to be to your benefit so you really wouldn’t want to stumble into the wrong place.

This isn’t the first scam to affect the genealogy community, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. As with all things online and offline, there are unscrupulous people willing to exploit any situation. However, don’t panic and don’t let that thought put you off your research. Scams are quite rare, and keeping your eyes open for discrepancies can often be enough to protect you from them.

One more thing. Since I have been writing a family history blog, I have received a number of spam emails from people claiming to be professional genealogists, or offering membership of genealogy sites I have never heard off. If you receive similar emails from strangers, send them straight to the trash folder. They are often scams – it’s known as ‘phishing’ – and by clicking any links contained in the message you are letting the scammers know that your address is live. Even worse, if you visit the site and input any data, that will then be in the hands of unscrupulous people. Not good! If you are unsure about the validity of a site or service mentioned in such an email, search Google (or another search engine) for information about it.

If you are using the Firefox browser, you can install the Google toolbar which now comes with a function called Google Safe Browsing which can alert you if you attempt to visit a bogus site.

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