Fake Webpages And How To Detect Them

Being in Japan and knowing how much good knifes cost, when I saw an advertising of hand made Japanese knifes…let’s say that it looked suspicious from the start. Their web page did look good though. But still…suspicious. Starting with the name “Huusk” which is as much non-Japanese as I can imagine.

Then the commonly seen signs to create some time pressure:

70% discount!

and the popups about sales happening right now:

Someone in Kyoyo Kita-ku Minamimitakamine bought it!

and yet that number of knifes left does not change:

7 left. Always.

Typical scammer stuff of creating a sense of “Buy it now! Before you start to think about it!”

I looked once up a countdown on another web page which counted from about 3h down to zero…so I let it run out. 3h later it showed negative time. And if you reload the page, it goes back to about 3h! This one is less obvious, but I was curious how the popup gets populated as it tries to imply a “Someone near you bought something, so it must be good!” Is it hard-coded like the timer, or dynamically pulled from somewhere? Turns out it is statically populated:

initPopup({
  "orders": [{
    "first_name": "hidetaka",
    "city": "funakosityo yokosuka",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "hidetaka from Funakosityo yokosuka, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X1 Huusk Knife Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "Indrajith",
    "city": "Itakoshi,Hinode",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "Indrajith from Itakoshi,Hinode, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X1 Huusk Knife Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "YOICHI",
    "city": "Nagano inaba",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "YOICHI from Nagano inaba, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X1 Huusk Knife Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "TAKASHIGE",
    "city": "OOSIMAGUNN SETOUTITYOU KONIYA  SEKUIHIGASHI",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText":
      "TAKASHIGE from OOSIMAGUNN SETOUTITYOU KONIYA  SEKUIHIGASHI, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X3 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "YASUHIRO",
    "city": "Ootaku SINKAMATA",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "YASUHIRO from Ootaku SINKAMATA, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X3 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "hiroshi",
    "city": "nakagawashimatsunoki",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "hiroshi from Nakagawashimatsunoki, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X4 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "EIJI",
    "city": "MATUBARACITY",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "EIJI from MATUBARACITY, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X4 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "Kyle",
    "city": "Okayama",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "Kyle from Okayama, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X3 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "Syouji",
    "city": "Yokohamasi",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "Syouji from Yokohamasi, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X4 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }, {
    "first_name": "Toshio",
    "city": "hamamatsu",
    "country": "JP",
    "topText": "Toshio from Hamamatsu, JP made a purchase.",
    "bottomText": "X3 Huusk Knives Sold!",
  }],
  "image": "https://huusk.com/theme/images/huusk.png?1",
});

The Terms and Conditions page is suspicious too:

Hand-made knifes and they create a single size? Why would anyone limit themselves to a single size if they are hand-made anyway? Japanese love to have different knifes for different jobs, but this Japanese company does not?

If you look up the text of some of the user testimonials you’ll find another knife company “Kaitomi” which looks just the same. But their web page is not yet ready: Still references to Huusk. Oops! At least it sounds a bit more (fake) Japanese…

Oops…forgot to remove the Huusk stuff

And I even found the popular Lorem Ipsum text filler:

So it’s pretty clear that this is a scam.

Enter fakewebsitebuster.com

I looked up Huusk expecting reviews like “Those knifes are not as good as the advertising suggested”, but I found something even better! And https://fakewebsitebuster.com/ confirmed my findings. And there’s many more such pages are discussed! E.g. fake investment web pages who’ll take your money and predictably disappear.

The most interesting part of that web page however is that they basically explain what to look for:

  • DNS and company registration, country and date. Recently registered and claiming to be 20 years in business?
  • Actual location of the business: Japan? US? UK? Lithuania? Nigeria? Claiming or suggesting that they are from somewhere else?
  • Use of stock photos for “user testimonials”. Reverse image search can find stock photos.
  • Copy&paste user testimonials used in other places too.
  • Selling a “unique” product which is also sold on other places (eBay, Aliexpress, Taobao).
  • The intense attempt of creating a sense of urgency.

Very educational and I wish more people would be aware of those scam tricks.

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