Have you ever typed a Web site address incorrectly and been taken to a very similar site. Beware, as you may have entered a fraudulent Web site and become the next typo-squatter victim.

Just when we thought we understood all the risks that we face online, something new comes along to haunt us. Not too long ago, we were wary of inserting infected floppy disks into our computer drives, but now our problems have multiplied. We know we should not click on every link that we are sent, and that we should have a good antivirus software in place to protect our computers from viruses. Now we have to be wary of what we type into our browsers.

This is called typo-squatting and entails internet fiends to play havoc with those who mistype Web addresses. They get away with registering common misspellings of popular domain names and in this way redirect mistake makers to alternative web sites. It is scary to know that by misspelling a popular URL, you have a 1 in 14 chance of landing at a typo-squatter site.

These typo-squatter sites generate their incoming in various ways. Some of them generate click through advertising revenue, or at worst lure unsuspecting consumers into scams. You could also be robbed of your email address, which will see your inbox flooded with unwanted spammy emails. Some of these visits also result in malware infections.

In order to maintain your internet safety nowdays, you need to constantly be on top of things, as it is an ever changing world, and scammers are getting more and more clever.

Make sure that your children are supervised when using the internet, as children's sites are one of the most heavily targeted, and typo squatters take advantage of innocent children and expose them to pornography or other disturbing Web sites.

The bottom line is that if you are not sure of the URL that you are looking for, you are safer using a search engine to find it than to guess. Be careful about what information you share on websites and make sure to also always use security technology to block or highlight risks.

These are the four types of typo-squatter Web sites to look out for.

1. A common misspelling or foreign language spelling of the intended site like example.com site.
2. A differently phrased domain name like examples.com.
3. A misspelling based on a typing error like xample.com or exxample.com.
4. A alternative top level domain name like example.org.

A visitor to a typo-squatter site could think he is at the real site through the use of copied logo's and content, or he could be directed to a totally different type of site, so beware all you internet users.

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