Protect yourself online: Top tips to spot a fake website

A number of fake AUSTRAC websites were recently identified and shut down. While these sites are no longer operating, it is important for you to remain vigilant online so you can identify and avoid fake websites and possible scams.

Scammers will attempt to trick you into paying money or giving out your personal information by pretending to be from trusted organisations like AUSTRAC. To appear credible, they may use a fake website, which can mimic the design, branding and content of the official source. This can make it challenging for you to differentiate between what is a fake and real website.

Here are our top five tips to avoid and identify fake websites:

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited requests: Avoid clicking on links or providing personal information in response to unexpected contact.
  2. Verify the website’s authenticity: Carefully double-check the URL as scammers attempt to make the URL of fake sites look as authentic as possible by adding an additional character. Official websites often have clear, straightforward URLs that match the agency’s name. Additionally, Australian government website addresses will always end in “”. 
  3. Review the website’s design and content: Official websites often have professional designs, a clear layout and high-quality content. While a fake site may initially look legitimate, often on further inspection there may be design flaws, spelling mistakes, poor grammar or a lack of contact information. 
  4. Verify the contact information: Authentic websites typically provide contact details such as the physical address, phone number and email address. Check this information for anything unusual, for example, a contact page that states the main AUSTRAC office is located outside of Australia.
  5. Check Google search: When in doubt search Google – the official website will most often appear at the top of the search results. 

More information

While we are actively removing any known fake websites, your vigilance against frauds and scams is important. By staying alert and informed, together we can contribute to a safer digital environment for everyone. 

For more information, including what to do if you receive a scam communication, see our Frauds and Scams page or visit Scamwatch.