Consumer Fraud Reporting

Reporting on the Latest Frauds, Scams, Fake Lotteries, Spams and Hoaxes

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Secure Website Certificates

What does "Website Certified by an Unknown Authority" mean?

If you click on a link and the new window opens with this:

That's ok!  Just click one of the two "Accept this certificate" options and then click the OK button.  There's no problem - this is a US government website, and it is safe!

What is a Website Certificate?

A "Web site certificate" states that a specific Web site is secure and genuine. It protects against other Web sites assuming the identity of the original secure site. A secure encrypted connection (i.e.. https:// instead of http://) between the your computer and the web site protects against hackers interfering.

You can easily see if you are using a secure connection, as in the address bar there will https:// (with the 's' meaning secure) and your browser will display an icon of a padlock. Newer browsers will also change the background color of the address bar to a pale yellow.

If you want to learn more about site certificates, then start with clicking on the “examine certificate” button, and read about what the certificate contains.

This page has a very good explanation of the uses of a website certificate and a secure connection.


Copyright CFR 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  - Definition of scam, fraud, etc.Legal disclaimer / corrections / complaints  -  Privacy Policy
Names used by scammers in the examples on this page and others often belong to real people and businesses who often have no knowledge of nor connection to the scammer's use of their name and information.  Sample scam emails and other documents are copies of the scam to help potential victims recognize and avoid it.  You should presume that any names used and presented here in a scam are either fictitious or used without their legitimate owner's permission.
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